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Stephane Ndzana: Cameroon U17 coach hits back at Zambia’s age-cheating claims


Stephane Ndzana: Cameroon U17 coach hits back at Zambia’s age-cheating claims

Isifu Wirfengla

By Beng Emmanuel Kum

Cameroon Under-17 Women’s national team head coach Stephane Ndzana says he is ‘surprised’ over claims of age-cheating following accusations from Zambia U17 gaffer Kaluba Kangwa who ‘strongly feel that the Cameroonian team is not 100% U17’.

The young Lionesses defeated Zambia U17 selection 5-0 on aggregate to seal their qualification for the final round of the Women’s U17 World Cup. But the defeat has been hard to stomach by their third round rivals.

Coach Stephane Ndzana said his players are born in 2005. He also added that some of them, who are slightly over the required age by a few months, are legally permitted to compete as per regulations from the World Football governing body, FIFA.

“We have girls who are aged 17 while others are 17 and a half. According to FIFA rules, they are allowed to play because it is their outgoing year” –Ndzana disclosed.

“During the first leg, the head coach of Zambia did not talk about it. He admitted defeat. But someone else talked him into believing that they lost because we fielded over age players. I’m surprised that he is talking about it in the second leg”.

Zambia U17 women’s team lost the first leg in Lusaka 0-2 and their fate was sealed in Yaoundé two weeks later. Their head coach Kaluba Kangwa said poor officiating from the referees and the presence of over age players in the Cameroonian team played a role in their defeat.

“Today’s referee was very awful and very frustrating. And it is not good. It is better our colleagues win the game fairly. They are a good side, they play good football but when you add the advantage of the referees, it becomes very frustrating”.   

“I strongly feel that the Cameroonian team is not 100% Under17. I have dealt with Under-17 for a long period time. This is my 16th year, I know who an under-17 is isn’t. In the future we need to improve on age. There is a lot of age cheating in the Cameroonian team.”

Cameroon will face Tanzania in the final round qualifiers of Africa’s U17 World Cup qualifiers. A win for the young Lionesses in the two legged encounter will guarantee their third straight participation at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup finals in India this year. They have featured twice in 2016 and 2018.

Isifu Wirfengla
Isifu Wirfengla

Isifu Michael WIRFENGLA is holder of a Bsc. in Journalism and taking postgraduate studies in Information and Communication Sciences from the University of Yaounde 2. He has five years of broadcast experience. Apart from freelance/sports reporting, he is a trained, practising football referee in Cameroon.


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