Manu Garba, Golden Eaglets coach, on Monday hailed the Confederation of African Football over the disqualification of Guinea for fielding overaged players during the just concluded Under-17 AFCON held in Tanzania.
Guinea eliminated Nigeria in the semifinal of the competition through penalty shootout, and Garba said the use of overaged players by Guinea prevented his team from getting to the finals of the U-17 African Cup of Nations.
Garba told the News Agency of Nigeria that Guinea deserved the sanctions imposed on her, adding that it would serve as a deterrent to other countries.
He explained that his team lost to an overaged side that should have been penalised earlier than now.
He said: “Nigeria could have played the finals against Cameroon if CAF had acted during the competition.
“This is a great lesson for every country to properly check players data.
“For Guinea, they deserve it because the two players have two International passports that have age discrepancies.
The coach noted that the two players had used passports with the date of birth reading 2001 to play in an International tournament in Japan and changed the date to 2002 to be eligible to play in the U-17 tournament.
He congratulated Senegal for emerging second in the competition after Guinea’s disqualification, thereby qualifying for the World Cup.
NAN reports that CAF had also disqualified Guinea from participating in the next two editions of the U-17 AFCON and the next FIFA U-17 World Cup for fielding two ineligible players – Aboubacar Conte and Ahmed Tidiane Keita – in an AFCON U-17 game in Tanzania against Senegal in April.
Guinea finished as runners-up at the U-17 Nations Cup, defeating Nigeria on penalties in the semi-final and loosing to Cameroon in the finals after a shootout.
Senegal, who originally finished third in Group B, behind Cameroon and Guinea, thereby missing out on U-17 World Cup qualification, will now take the place of Guinea in Brazil.