10 November 2009

Does cheating pay?

I always questioned why a country would used overage players in youth tournaments. The use of over-age players is immoral and does little to develop football in the country. Well, that's what I thought.

After the dismal results of the current Nepal youth teams in AFC competitions, I now question my firmly held beliefs.

The horrid results have been condemned by fans, media, and the football fraternity alike. It has probably produced the greatest amount of collective venom ANFA has received recently.

But where was the outrage when Nepal blatantly used overage players (and no matter how much ANFA might try to deny it, the fact is they knowingly did) to advance to the AFC Under 16 finals in the past? On the contrary everyone celebrated the accomplishment like a Diwali night and was more than happy to look the other way on the over-age issue.

Let's face it, ANFA does not currently have the will to develop a formidable youth development plan. Knowing they cannot produce great teams through a well constructed youth system the choices left are either to use over-age players and do well or be honest and get beaten like hand-washed laundry. Why should anyone then subject themselves to scorn by playing fair?


  1. Please keep yourselves on ANFA shooes. If you are ANFA and i am a player, I bring a fake birth certificate, or my birthday on my citizenship is fake how do you know? Is ANFA in position to challange government producued document? I also thought the issue several time, why should we play overaged players? What is the worth but later discovered that the problem lies somewhere else not in ANFA.Mind it, the medical examination is costly and I guess we dont have that facilities in Nepal (may be I am wrong, I dont know) - lemon break

  2. So ANFA has no responsibility to check school records, etc.? In previous U16 teams there were players on it who had been playing league football for 3 years. That means they started playing "A" division when they were 13! Also there were kids who had completed SLC many years back - so they would have had to be total geniuses to pass SLC at age 12!

    It's easy to make excuses. The fundamental question to ask is ANFA serious about playing fair? In the past they were not. To their credit I think they are better about it these days.

  3. But if these people are dropped out from the squad, there you have critical press blowing up the issue with interview of the players, their coaches, parents and many more. They will simply point out at ANFA tagging them being 'partial' in selection. Any commnet on this? - lemon break

  4. @Lemon Break - think media will only make a big issue if the players are dropped AFTER being selected.

    But in a way I agree with you. ANFA has little incentive to NOT pick overage players, because the media pressure of losing is worse than the long term demerits of choosing older players. As I said - with no youth policy in place, age-fixing is the only solution for ANFA, unless they are prepared to lose by big margins in youth tournaments.

  5. I totally agree with the youth policy. There must be youth policy, no doubt about that. Do you think that the problem will be solved by roping in Youth Policy? Youth Policy and cheating of age is totally different. If you say that I dont recognize the birth certificate issued by the government authorities or passports, it will be a nice excuse for the people who constantly attack ANFA (not for the good reason though). 'Eh government ko certificate nammane, means you are bigger than govt, ur challenging the government?' On Youth Policy I saw your previous article on goalnepal.com. My point is (you can say me an idealist), come up with youth policy, organize various school leagues, junior leagues and youth leagues, let's make the football enveronment condusive the result will come (or may be it wont come I dont care). I am not kicking your back for not winning the bla bla bla Championship or useless FIFA ranking (if you have proper programs for football development). I prefer going 10 places down by playing good football and losing by 1-0 rather than playing terrible and win by a 1-0 goal in which game four of your opponents struck the woodwork and you win by opposition's defender handball (dubious)resulting in a penalty. (May be I am diverted from the issue raised, sorry for that)The thing is we grind ANFA on FIFA ranking and downgraded performance (that means if ANFA manage to win a couple of games, and raise 5 to 10 points in FIFA ranking, they are doing amazing!!!) but we never digonse the reasons behind that, there must be 'cause and effect theory' - Lemon Break

  6. @Lemon Break - If ANFA has a very good youth policy in place the results will come. If they do not, then it means the youth policy was poor and they need to change it. So basically ANFA needs to try different models until they get it right. The ANFA Academy model has failed.

    I dont buy your argument about ANFA bigger than Government...First of all if MRI exams find players to be overage, FIFA and AFC will not accept official documents as excuses. So ANFA to protect itself from fines and bans have to make an effort to double check the age of players. You might recall that Mexico was banned from the 1990 World Cup for fielding overage players in youth competitions.

    In Brazil, most clubs go beyond official certificates when veryfying ages of players. In India the Simla Youngs Academy forces all its trainees to take an MRI exam. Recently in Dharan, Upendra Man Singh put all the under 12 trialists into groups by what class they were in. All boys who were in class 8 or above were disqualified from participating. More actions like that need to be taken.