Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors could be swimming in stormy waters after using three players who were blacklisted by the previous Zifa Board for age cheating in the All Africa Games qualifier.
Archford Gutu, Cliff Anotida Sekete, Knowledge Machona and Brian Katsaruware were part of the 35 players blacklisted by the previous Zifa Board after they voluntarily opted out of the “Greulich and Pyle method” (bone-testing) to determine their actual ages in the run up to the Under-17 African Youth Championships.
However, despite the blacklisting by the previous Zifa board the players have continued to be called up for the national junior teams. The players were part of the Zimbabwe squad that beat Zambia 3-2 in an All Africa Games qualifiers although their ages are a “mystery”.
Investigations revealed that one of the players in the eye of the storm, Katsaruware’s records at premiership side Eagles do not tally with those held by Zifa.
According to the Eagles’ official website, Katsaruware was born on November 16 1990. His height is listed as 1,71m and weighs 69 kg.
According to the passport (number BN618890) that he is using to turn up for the Young Warriors, he was born on November 16 1992.
The difference between the records held by his local club and those at Zifa adds further mystery to his actual age.
The Young Warriors team management have been ballistic over the reportage of age cheating in junior national teams. Wellington Mpandare, the Under-23 manager accused Standardsport of being “unpatriotic Zimbabweans” for unmasking the age cheats.
More information has continued to emerge of the players at the centre of the age cheating scandal. Gunners’ Cliff Sekete is yet another player who was blacklisted and is the holder of passport number BN692197 which indicates that he was born on September 7 1992. However, a former football coach at Budiriro 1 Primary School where Sekete did his primary education disputes his age.
“Cliff was one of my star players in 1999 when he was in Grade 6 at Budiriro 1 Primary. If we go by the official documents that he is using with the Young Warriors it means that he was seven years old in 1999 and doing Grade 6, which is not possible,” said the coach who requested anonymity.