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Nigerian players baited

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/feb/21/nigerian-football-age-old-problem

Nwankwo Kanu's official age is 33 but his real age is 42. Obafemi Martins is not 25 but 32. Jay-Jay Okocha was 10 years older than his "official" age throughout his career. And Taribo West, whose playing career ended only two years ago, is in his late fifties. Who says so? A stream of bloggers on some of Nigeria's most popular websites, in response to comments made after the country's timid effort in last month's Africa Cup of Nations.

Failure to win that trophy is nearly always considered a scandal in the continent's most populous nation but Nigeria's latest misadventure in the tournament triggered a particularly explosive condemnation back home.

It started when a former manager of a leading Nigerian club told the Lagos Guardian: "What happened in Angola is a confirmation of what has been happening in the past where most of our players falsified their age during competition. Most of the players are beyond the age they professed and this made it impossible for them to withstand the pace of teams like Zambia and Benin."

It also led to an entertaining discussion that shows no sign of abating as the Nigerians, who have three months to prepare for the World Cup, reacted to the criticism by sacking the coach. "Our boys are old, we are paying the price for age cheating," said Ken Anugweje, a former national team doctor and board member of the Nigerian Football Federation.

Suspicions about true ages of some Nigerian footballers date back 20 years. Fifa banned Nigeria from all international fixtures for two years after finding that the birth dates of three of their players in the 1988 Olympics were different from ones used by the same players in previous tournaments.

A year later Pelé famously declared "an African team will definitely win the World Cup by the turn of the century" after watching seemingly promising Nigerian youngsters lift the Under-17 World Cup and reach the final of the Under-20 competition. How was Pelé to know that the so-called Under-20s of 1989 were so old that, in the words of George Onmonya on nigeriavillagesquare.com, "most of our players have now retired and become grandpas"?

Nigeria have a rich tradition of seemingly promising youngsters who mysteriously fail to fulfil their potential. Phillip Osondu was the best player at the 1987 Under-17 World Cup, after which he was snapped up by Anderlecht, only to drift out of the game and into janitorial work after questions were raised about his real age.

The star of Nigeria's finalists at the 2001 Under-17 competition went on to become officially the third-youngest player to appear in the senior World Cup when he started the 0-0 draw with England in 2002. But that was as good as it got for Femi Opabunmi, who by 2005 was playing part-time football in the French lower leagues.

A trawl through the blogosphere makes for intriguing reading. "A friend of mine who once played in the Nigerian league told me his real age was 34 but his football age was 21," wrote Onmonya. "You can walk into any immigration office in Nigeria today, forge documents at the nearby business centre, change your name, place of birth, date of birth, pay 7,000-10,000 naira instead of the official price of about 5,500 for an international passport and within hours you have completed the whole process." A new passport, a new person – and if you are a footballer, a younger one.

A former employee of the British embassy in Nigeria told Observer Sport that when visa applicants complained to him about having their applications rejected, he would reply: "Well don't talk to me about it, I'm dead." He would respond to their looks of puzzlement by pointing to the wall behind him, on which hung his death certificate, purchased for a small fee from a Lagos supplier. Fifa reckon they have finally come up with a foolproof way of determining real age. Ahead of last year's Under-17 World Cup in, as it happened, Nigeria, the governing body announced that players would be subjected to wrist scans using magnetic resonance imaging, and this would determine their true age.

That led some countries to undertake precautionary scans beforehand. The results were never announced, but Nigeria suddenly discarded 15 squad members, while Gambia omitted 11 of the 18 who had helped them to victory in the African Under-17 championship a few months earlier. Reports claim that retrospective analyses of the previous three Under-17 World Cups showed more than a third of all players were too old.

nice to see it in print like this.

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i knew kanu was in this 40's lmaooo

was lookin at him in the match yesterday thinking ... how old is this f*ck*ng guy lol

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Clocked Kanu was older when he had heart problems at his early "20s" was in his prime for Ajax back in the 90s.

I even think Victor Moses is older than 19.

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how old was Okocha in his bolton days then going by this age?

40ish?

best 40 yo of all time tbh

/

pmsl

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LOL, bullshit.

Martins I can agree with, same as Kanu

Taribo and Jay-Jay - no way

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C/s a lot of this being bullshit.

Lol @ West playing professional football in his 50's. f*ck off

Lol @ Kanu being 42 as well.

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Embrace the truth nig(g)ers

We've all known this for long time, nice to see it in print

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LOL, bullshit.

Martins I can agree with, same as Kanu

Taribo and Jay-Jay - no way

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Okocha>>>

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Thank f*ck we sold Martins.

He's lost the pace he had at Inter, no question really, yet he's still only "25."

This was his facebook a year or so ago.

raowpi.png

"Martins edited their birthday"

^_)

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I don't understand. It says these "real ages" are ones that have been suggested on Nigerian internet forums. But some people in this thread are taking them as fact?

Yous actually believe Taribo West is several years older than my dad?

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We all know they most of them affs are much older than they say they are

One dude at work was telling me Etoo was like 34 :mellow:

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No way was an African playing professional football in his 50s...41ish to 42ish maybe. Okocha is about 40 now I reckon, same age as Kanu really. These guys are f*cked. Martins is coming up to 32-35, you can tell as a man he's at the height of his physical build, still has the pace. In about 2-3 years that's garrrrnnn.

I never understand the excitement when Nigeria wins a youth trophy like the u20 or u19 WC that one time, could tell that half those f*ckers were atleast 25+.

What's the problem with actually bringing in young'uns through for real? Not like they lack the build or anything.

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We all know they most of them affs are much older than they say they are

One dude at work was telling me Etoo was like 34 :mellow:

Eto'o's age is real. Swear he was at Madrid at like 20..He's been in Europe for time about 13 years. Drogba's like 31 as well, doesn't actually lie about his age. Even if Eto'o's age is false, he can't be more than 30.

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people always forget Yakubu at Everton

NOWAY is he 27

remember when he was at middleborogh saying he was 21 and sh*t

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They should get sued for this. How can they post speculation like its fact?

We all knw they are a few years older than their "official age" but going on damn near 10 years? No way! I'd say 5 MAX.

This article looks at how advanced they were when they were young, but what about them playing better and lasting longer than the average player 10 years older than their "official age"

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nigeria and brazil are well known for having 2 ages

there real age and there football age

20 year olds all turning up for under 12s trials

well known facts of football

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Thank f*ck we sold Martins.

He's lost the pace he had at Inter, no question really, yet he's still only "25."

This was his facebook a year or so ago.

raowpi.png

"Martins edited their birthday"

^_)

LMFAO

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100% true everything in this article.....every Nigerian back home knows how old Kanu and all them men are.........okocha went to Bolton in his 40s when he was over the hill.......if he and Kanu had come to the premiership in their prime oh my days........

All this stuff is common knowledge in Nigeria.....

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100% true everything in this article.....every Nigerian back home knows how old Kanu and all them men are.........okocha went to Bolton in his 40s when he was over the hill.......if he and Kanu had come to the premiership in their prime oh my days........

All this stuff is common knowledge in Nigeria.....

Okocha...over the hill...at Bolton...

Boy....

Gives a new meaning to the phrase ''age aint nothing but a number''

If you're good enough, you're young enough

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no way hes 17 man

 

but fuck it mans living

 

if i was 40+ & could get away with it id be doin the same

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