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South Sudan U17 disqualified in AFCON over age test

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Sunday, April 30, 2023

National U17 football team player takes an MRI test. | Photo: SSFA

South Sudan U17 football team was disqualified from the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Algeria after five players failed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test, the national federation has confirmed.

The national football governing body said it regrets the team’s disqualification in a statement released late on Saturday.

“The South Sudan Football Association regrets to announce that our team has been disqualified from the AFCON U17 Algeria 2023 due to the non-eligibility of five (5) players after the MRI test,” reads the SSFA statement.

The squad reportedly underwent the MRI test on April 26, 2023, to ensure that they meet the age eligibility criteria set by the Confederation of African Football regulations.

“Unfortunately, we received yesterday 28th April 2023 notification from CAF that five of our players did not pass the MRI test and were deemed ineligible to participate in the competition,” it added.

MRI is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.

The national football federation however argues that two of the five players that were disqualified previously participated in the zonal qualifiers after passing the MRI scan in Ethiopia in September 2022.

CAF had said early that any team with three or more players failing the MRI test will be immediately disqualified.

The continental body then released a statement confirming the disqualification.

“Kindly be informed that South Sudan U17 National Team has been disqualified from the competition for having more than 3 illegible players as per the MRI illegibility test in accordance with the CAF circular letter dated April 11, 2023,” CAF said.

The Bright Stars have been forced to exit the competition that was highly anticipated – leaving Group C with only three teams; Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Mali.

On April 24th, they departed Juba International Airport to Algeria to Algeria to debut in the continental competition began on April 29 and will end on May 19, 2023.

SSFA said it filed a complaint to CAF against the decision, but that it was rejected.

The statement published on the federation’s official Facebook page also apologized to South Sudanese football fans for the inconvenience.

“We fully understand and respect the decision made by the competition’s organizers, and we apologize to our fans, sponsors, and partners for any disappointment this may cause.”

It further added that the federation has been committed to “fair play and sportsmanship” and has taken all the necessary steps to ensure that players meet the eligibility criteria set by the competition’s regulations.




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