South Sudan have been disqualified from the ongoing AFCON U17 in Algeria over Age cheating.
It has been confirmed that five of their players failed MRI tests.
Players born on 1 January 2006 or later are eligible to participate in this year’s competition.
“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 a statement from SSFA.
The MRI test was conducted on the 26th April 2023 to ensure that all players meet the age eligibility criteria set by the competition’s regulations.
“Unfortunately, on 28th April 2023, we received a notification from CAF that five of our players did not pass the MRI test and were deemed ineligible to participate in the competition.
“Although two of the five players were part of the team which participated in the zonal qualifiers and passed the MRI eligibility in Ethiopia last September 2022.”
The Association said that they lodged in a complaint to CAF medical committee against the decision, but it was rejected by the medical saying that their first and second readings remains the same.
“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.
“South Sudan Football Association would like to emphasize that we have always been committed to fair play and sportsmanship.
“We have taken all the necessary steps to ensure that all our players meet the eligibility criteria set by the competition’s regulations.”
South Sudan defeated Tanzania 4-3 in penalty shootouts in October last year to book a place at the AFCON U17 for the very first time.
The young African nation were pitted in Group C alongside Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali.
The tournament that got underway on Saturday, will see the top four teams qualify for the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup as the African representatives.