• Sat. May 18th, 2024

Golden Eaglets: NFF mandates pre-camping MRI tests to curb age cheats

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is taking strict measures to ensure that players representing the country’s U17 men’s national team, the Golden Eaglets, meet the age requirements by mandating pre-camping MRI scans for all players, platinumnewsng.com is reporting.

The team’s media officer,  Francis Achi made this known to the public in an interview with The Punch  reiterating the federation’s commitment to rigorous selection criteria to maintain the integrity of the age group competitions.

“The NFF is determined to select players strictly within the age limit to prevent the kind of scenarios we’ve seen before where teams were weakened after key players failed the MRI tests,” Achi said.

Under the new protocol, all scouted players are required to undergo an MRI scan at NFF-approved hospitals. Players must achieve a score between Grades 1 and 4 to be eligible to join the team, with Grade 5 being unacceptable as it indicates the player will surpass the age limit before the FIFA U17 World Cup.

The push for stricter age verification comes after multiple incidents where players failed the MRI age tests, including three key players during the WAFU qualifiers in Ghana in February 2023, and eight players prior to the U-17 Africa Nations Cup in Morocco in 2021. In 2013, six players were disqualified ahead of the FIFA U17 Cup in the UAE due to failed age verification, highlighting the necessity for these measures.

The Golden Eaglets are currently training under coach Manu Garba at the FIFA Goal Project pitch at Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, as they prepare to defend their WAFU Zone B title in Ghana from May 15-29, 2024. The team, which has won the world championship five times, is grouped with Burkina Faso, Niger, and Togo in Group B. The draw, conducted last Friday, also places host Ghana in Group A with Benin Republic and Cote d’Ivoire.

Who is Golden Eaglets Coach; Manu Garba?

Manu Garba is a Nigerian football coach known primarily for his work with Nigeria’s youth football teams. He currently has been re-appointed as the coach of the Nigeria Under-17 male national team; the Golden Eaglets.

Garba gained recognition for his successful tenure as the head coach of the Nigerian U17 national team, the Golden Eaglets. Under his guidance, the Golden Eaglets won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2013, held in the United Arab Emirates. The successful tourney saw the launch of the careers of several promising young players, including Kelechi Iheanacho and Taiwo Awoniyi.

The coach who hails from Gombe state, had an extensive playing experience, including stints with Elkanemi Warriors Maiduguri, Flying Eagles, Green Eagles, Kano Pillars, Combe United, and BCC Lions Gboko.

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