Ghana’s deputy sports minister, Puis Enam Hazide has made an astonishing claim impugning that some members of the victorious Mali U-17 team were over-aged.
Mali out-muscled a hitherto unblemished Ghana Black Starlets team to retain the Africa U-17 Championship in Gabon on Sunday.
But according to the Ghanaian minister, Ghana’s loss could be attributed to age cheating on the part of the Malian team.
“I’m not a coach so I will be very cautious with some of the technicalities because what I might term as a tactical mistake may not really be so”, Hadzide told Berekum-based Chris FM.
“But in the game itself, there was too much physical battle in the game and I was shocked at huw the Malians overpowered us".
“At a point, I asked myself if these Malians were really U-17 looking at how there were ramming and bulldozing our small players, but in all, we will have to protest”.
“We have to investigate, because even on of their defenders, I was so shocked when I exchanged handshakes with him before the game, I observed him carefully, I realized he could even be older than me. He never looked a 17 year old”,
“We need to really investigate this. We must investigate because I saw one or two players in the Malian team whose ages are really really questionable”,
“It is true that you cannot just look into someone and predict their age but averagely, it is easy to see from their looks’.
The players might have passed the MRI test but I still have my doubts, since I was not there when they went through the scan”, He added.
The minister’s comment is expected to generate interest and a response from the Malian federation in an attempt to clear the team of any wrongdoing ahead of the FIFA World Cup in India.
A first-half goal from Momadou Samake was enough to help Mali successfully defend the title they won in 2015, dashing Ghana’s hope of ending a 18-year run without a trophy in the tournament.
Ghana, Mali, Guinea and Niger have all qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India next October.