The Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC has withdrawn from a regional qualifying round for the 2023 Under-17 African Cup of Nations, AFCON after 25 of the 40 players invited to the team failed the MRI age test.
The development in the DRC came after a similar incident rocked Cameroon earlier, when a total of 32 players failed tests that Samuel Eto’o, the country’s football association’s president, ordered.
According to a statement from the Congolese football organization (FECOFA), just 15 of the 40 players that were submitted for MRI testing were eligible, and 25 of them failed.
However, the statement also stated that “just five managed to fulfill the necessary administrative formalities” that would have permitted them to travel, out of the 15 players who passed the age test.
According to BBC Sport Africa, Cameroon scrambled to find 30 replacement players in order to compete in the U17 AFCON qualifiers. The 30 players all passed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exams in Douala, unlike those who did not. The exams scan the player’s wrists and measure the growth of their bones to establish their age.
Four nations will now compete in the qualifying competition: Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Chad, and Central African Republic. The Central African Football Federations’ Union (UNIFFAC) has rescheduled AFCON qualifiers games for January 12–24 with the DRC out following the MRI age test saga.