AGE cheating in junior age group football is a cancer that needs to be dealt with decisively by punishing culprits with lifetime bans from the game of football, Manicaland Juniors of Excellence (MAJESA) director, Charles Chave has said.
In an interview on the sidelines of a certificate handover ceremony for MAJESA last Sunday following the Mutare football academy’s triumphant campaign in the Marvellous Nakamba Under-17s Tournament played in Bulawayo recently, the soft spoken Chave said age cheats have no place in the beautiful game of football.
“It is sad that when people present players that are above the required age, they are disadvantaging the young kids who duly deserve to play. This is normally done to win competitions at all costs.
“We, as an academy, strongly believe that age cheats have no place in our football. In fact, anyone found on the wrong side must be banned for life. That will set the tone for Fair Play and give a strong warning to potential culprits,” he said.
Manicaland recently shifted its attention to the junior football ensemble which etched its name in the annals of national junior football history after becoming the inaugural winners of the Marvellous Nakamba Foundation (MNF) Tournament played in Bulawayo.
The Mutare football academy almost fell victim to age cheating after Harare giants, Dynamos, the team which beat MAJESA 3-0 in the tournament opening encounter, fielded over aged players and were subsequently disqualified.
In a separate interview, Aston Vila and Warriors player, Marvellous Nakamba’s father, Anthony Nakamba praised MAJESA for their professional approach to the development of young talent.
“I have often seen MAJESA operations on Facebook and other social media platforms and they have a professional approach to the game that I admire so much.
“I hope and pray that they are getting all the support they need from all stakeholders in Manicaland. I have no doubt that we will have two or three players from this crop of MAJESA Under-17s who will play in Europe when the time is ripe,” he said.
Nakamba also announced that a girls’ Under-17 tournament will be held in November before the junior males’ and females’ competitions are merged next year.
“We will have a tournament for the Under-17 girls in November after the successful hosting of the boys’ competition. The boys’ competition was our inaugural tournament and we learnt some important lessons that will help us improve the competition next time,” he said.
He added that the Marvellous Nakamba Foundation, which he chairs, will be establishing an academy for young age groups early next year.
“We are going ahead with the necessary consultations and we are happy with the progress made so far. We will be establishing an academy for the Under-13s to Under-17s. That is expected to be accomplished by early next year,” he added.