The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) in a statement this Saturday said they have appealed against the CAF and COSAFA decision to boot the Under-17 team from the regional tournament after an unnamed player failed an age-cheating test.
ZIFA said it was surprised and equally disappointed by the alleged age-cheating results after it conducted similar Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests on the players in Harare before their departure for the tournament. The statement read:
The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) received with great disappointment, the correspondence from COSAFA to the effect that our Under 17 team has been disqualified from 2020 edition after one of the players failed a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test.
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This is indeed surprising and questionable since we carried out similar tests on the boys and disqualified six (6) for failing to satisfy the bone fusion criteria, taking only those determined to be of the correct age.
ZIFA does not condone age cheating and will conduct further investigations on how the six (6) who were dropped failed the tests.
All the boys that travelled for the tournament were tested at a reputable MRI centre in Harare prior to their departure and the centre used a fairly powerful 1.5 T machine.
The MRI results were also reviewed by a Specialist Radiologist, Dr Z Sirdar.
Our Chief Medical Officer Dr Edward Chagonda is also a CAF certified medical officer.
Our team doctor Dr Rabson Zhou who travelled with the team has all the test results with him as proof.
The Zimbabwe Football Association is challenging the decision to disqualify our team and has requested COSAFA to avail the name of the player who is alleged to be over the required age.
We have appealed against the CAF and COSAFA decision and we are confident that we did not deliberately breach regulations governing the U17 tournament.
Zimbabwe Football Association