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Age question haunts Nigerian soccer

One of the great games in international soccer is to guess just how old are Nigerian players. Bloggers speculate that Nigerian greats such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Obafemi Martins and Taribo West are as much as 10 years older than they claim to be.

The age question came up again in response to Nigeria's disappointing performance at the Africa Cup of Nations, where the Super Eagles finished third. A former coach leading Nigerian club told the Lagos Guardian: "What happened in Angola is a confirmation of what has been happening in the past where most of our players falsified their age during competition. Most of the players are beyond the age they professed and this made it impossible for them to withstand the pace of teams like Zambia and Benin."

Age questions have dogged Nigerian youth teams for years. What happened to Nigeria's U-20s who reached the final of the 1989 World Youth Championship after beating the United States in the semifinals? George Onmonya on nigeriavillagesquare.com said, "Most of our players have now retired and become grandpas."

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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