Age Cheating Resurfaces in Namibian Football

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By Carlos Kambaekwa

WINDHOEK

The dust just refuses to settle in the battle against the ugly face of age cheating in Namibian football with several accusations and counter accusations taking centre stage in the latest debacle.

The recently concluded Otjiwarongo Schools Soccer Tournament left a nasty taste in the mouth with some of the participants claiming foul play.

Delta Secondary School is spitting venom at Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW) for allegedly not playing by the rules and vehemently protested against SKW’s fielding of several players it alleged were over-aged players during the round robin Under-17 section, which they went on to win.

The coach of the Under-17 team at Delta Secondary School in Olympia, Cynthia Balzar, is fuming and accuses some clubs of ganging up with parents in manipulating boys’ birth certificates to gain unfair advantage on the playing field.

“We were actually surprised to see some of our scholars turning out for SKW in the Under-17 age group while they have been playing for the school team in the Under-19 Super League,” Balzar said.

Balzar claims that the school is in possession of the over-aged players’ birth certificates whose birth dates do not correspond with those on registration forms with their respective clubs.

But the coach of SKW Under-17 side, Jochen Traut, pleaded ignorance when approached for comment, saying his team did nothing wrong by registering the players as they provided the club with valid birth certificates that were verified with their respective guardians.

When it was pointed out to him that the schools were in possession of different birth certificates – Traut changed his tune and pointed out that his club has resolved to withdraw all players at the centre of the storm until the investigation is completed.

New Era Sport sought clarity from one of the parents, whose son turned 18 in March this year and whose name prominently cropped up during the allegations.

The father, a long serving Government employee, would have none of that and shifted the goalposts, accusing Balzar of being selective in pin-pointing his offspring while there were other players swimming in the same pool.

The man reluctantly admitted that he wangled his way with the application of his son’s birth certificate, but was quick to justify his action.

“I fell victim to circumstances beyond my control and had no other choice than to adjust my son’s birth date as I needed to get him enrolled at primary school after the Ministry of Basic Education had determined the school-going age at seven. I thought it wise to tamper a bit with his age.”

To add salt to the wounds, the birth date on the boy’s passport is also in conflict with the ones supporting his school entry and registration with his club SKW, while both birthdates do not correspond.

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