Botswana U-17 soccer coach accuses Zambia of age cheating

Zambia U-17
Zambia U17

GABORONE, (Xinhua) — Botswana national under-17 soccer coach Odirile Matlhaku has accused Zambia of using over-aged players in a qualifier match for the 2015 Africa Youth Championship.

Matlhaku told the media on Thursday that the Zambians used players whose ages were not verified during the first leg encounter played in Lusaka on July 19th. Botswana lost the match 1-0.

Matlhaku said they were playing against big men even though he said they will not be lodging any official complaint. He however said that will not destruct his team’s preparations for the return leg saying they are aiming to reverse the score and proceed to the next stage of the qualifiers.

“The game against Zambia was a tough game, the boys tried their best but at the end we lost. We are not plotting how to overcome the score in the return keg to be played here in Gaborone,” he said.

The two sides will play again in the second leg match scheduled for the weekend of August 1-3. Matlhaku said they tried hard not to concede a goal away so that they do not give their opponents an advantage but they conceded in the 70th minute of the match.

Age cheating is a concern for African soccer players, especially at junior levels. In the 2013 under-17 championships, several players were ruled to be overage following a bone marrow scan that was done as a requirement for competition.

Botswana had qualified for the 2013 championship and Matlhaku said they want to emulate the previous team and also book a ticket to the finals.