Believe it or not, there are many footballers have been caught lying about their age in the past. Yes you are reading right, some players have actually altered their age. This article is going to give you some of the famous cases of individuals caught age-cheating.
You cannot talk about footballers who lied about their age without mentioning Gourav Mukhi in India. Mukhi became the youngest-ever goalscorer in the Indian Super League at just 16 years old. This would have been true except for the fact that he was actually 28 years old.
Mukhi was handed a six-month suspension for age-cheating by a staggering 12 years.
Carlos Alberto lied about his age in order to feature at the U20 World Cup with Brazil in 2003, in which he played a starring role in their triumph. He was caught three years later when it was discovered that he was lying about his age by five years.
As punishment, he was handed a one-year ban from the sport. He endured a nomadic career in Brazilian football thereafter.
Tobie Mimboe, a 42-time capped Cameroon international is another famous example. He age-cheated more than once and was later dubbed as the Peter Pan of football.
At the 1996 African Cup of Nations, he would have been 31 had he used the same documents that he had used in South America which indicated he was born in 1964.
When he joined Gençlerbirliği after that tournament, his documents revealed him to be in his twenties (30 June 1974). At the 1998 African Cup of Nations, he gave the date of birth as 30 June 1970.
Angel Cheme from Ecuador claimed to be three years younger than he was. He claimed a date of birth of 9 December 1984 yet his actual date of birth was 19 November 1981. This enabled him to play in age-restricted matches for three years after he was entitled to do so.
Cheme also lied about his real name. He played the majority of his professional career as Gonzalo Javier Chila Palma. In December 2010, Cheme was accused of aggravated identity theft by the actual Gonzalo Chila, an evangelical pastor in Guayaquil.
This led the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) to investigate the accusations and apply any applicable punishments. FEF concluded that Cheme had used Chila’s identity to play and was suspended for one year.
Sibusiso Mzizi from South Africa also lied about his age. The former Ajax Capetown man used a fake passport to lie about his age by five years
Seuntjie Motlhajwa was found guilty, having claimed he was two years younger than his actual age. He was born in 1981 but claimed he was born in 1983 before being caught.
Former Free State Stars defender Musa Magagula admitted in 2016 that he used the identity of his cousin Goodman Sauhatsi in order to forge a career in the Premier Soccer League.
Shiva N’Zigou is the youngest player who has ever played in the Africa Cup of Nations. With 16 years and 93 days, he scored on his debut for Gabon in a 3-1 loss to South Africa at 2000 Africa Cup of Nations.
However, he admitted in 2018 that he lied about age and that he is 5 years older than alleged. Mathematicians have worked out that he would still have been at least eighteen at that tournament.
One of the more recent cases adding to footballers that lied about their age occurred earlier this year. This is when former Senegal international Guirane N’Daw candidly admitted to falsifying his age in order to become a professional player.
What was perhaps more controversial that his confession, however, was N’Daw claiming that “99% of players have reduced their age” in Senegal. Let’s hope that is not the case.