The 2023 Nationwide League – NLO Youth League will begin in various centers in Nigeria this week. In all centers, it is observed that club managers are parading old men as against young players expected.
To pass the screening for the league designed for Under 19 aged players, club managers have devised fraudulent means to beat the screening module set by the league organizers.
All players are required to present their National Identification details and so club managers fraudulently presented 30+ men with hurriedly acquired NIN details for the screening.
At the Uyo center for example, this reporter personally observed the case of a Port Harcourt based team Zion City FC who presented clearly overaged players for the screening.
Their arrival at the venue caused serious uproar as other club owners raised objections to the ages of the players.
Same report emerged from other centers, with this trend said to be a trend-for-all in the Northern region.
This is clearly a loss for the target of developing young players with the NLO Youth League.
THE NLO STAND
A call to officials of the Nationwide League board, organizers of the NLO Youth League shows they are dissapointed with the action of club managers who have devised means to beat the set screening module.
There is little or nothing the NLO board can do to stop use of overaged players at this moment, and so the men will square up against the boys.
Another sad opportunity to prepare the for the future of football in Nigeria – battling with the unrepentant attitude of some club owners.
To guard against a repeat in subsequent editions of the NLO Youth League, organizers should include the option of physical screening to guard against age cheats.
A two-way age authentication module will reduce age-cheating and give more opportunities to youngsters – the main targets of the Youth League.