Zambia disqualified from COSAFA under-17 Championships

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Consequently Malawi finish top of Group B and East African guest nation Kenya claim the runners-up spot.

Friday’s semi-final line-up therefore sees South Africa take on Kenya  at 11h00 (SA time) and Malawi play Namibia at 14h00 for a place in Sunday’s final.

Zambia’s disqualification follows fresh Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests carried out on forward Nicholas Mulilo and Benjamin Phiri in Mauritius, which found the players were over the age of 17 and therefore according to Clause 10.5 (I) of the tournament regulations are not eligible to compete in the competition.

Zambia had willingly submitted both players for re-testing in Mauritius after complaints from two countries.

The pair had been tested, along with the rest of the squad, in Zambia prior to their arrival at the tournament, as is mandatory for all players competing at the CAF Under-17 Qualifiers and U-17 Youth Championships Final Tournament, but information sourced later from Confederation of African Football (CAF) indicated that these tests were incorrectly done.

The re-tests carried out in Mauritius revealed the players were not eligible to compete.

MRI scans have become standard in assessing the age of players in this age-group with a 99 percent accuracy.

Every bone in the arm and leg has an end plate from which bones grow. When the growth is completed (usually around the age of 17), then this end plate disappears on the MRI scans.

If it can be seen on the MRI scans, then it is proof that the player is 17 or younger.