The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has revealed that it will challenge the decision by COSAFA to disqualify the national U-17 team from the 2020 tournament citing the use of over-age players.

The regional body announced yesterday that Zimbabwe was one of four teams disqualified from the showpiece due the alleged use of players over the age of 17.

Breaking silence on the issue, ZIFA insist the decision is ‘surprising and questionable’ since they  carried their own MRI tests, hence they will challenge it.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) received with great disappointment, the correspondence from COSAFA to the effect that our Under 17 team has been disqualified from 2020 edition after one of the players failed a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test,” reads a statement released by the association’s spokesman Xolisani Gwesela.

“This is indeed surprising and questionable since we carried out similar tests on the boys and disqualified six (6) for failing to satisfy the bone fusion criteria, taking only those determined to be of the correct age. ZIFA does not condone age cheating and will conduct further investigations on how the six (6) who were dropped failed the tests.
All the boys that travelled for the tournament were tested at a reputable MRI centre in Harare prior to their departure and the centre used a fairly powerful 1.5 T machine.”

“The MRI results were also reviewed by a Specialist Radiologist, Dr Z Sirdar.
Our Chief Medical Officer Dr Edward Chagonda is also a CAF certified medical officer.
Our team doctor Dr Rabson Zhou who travelled with the team has all the test results with him as proof.

The Zimbabwe Football Association is challenging the decision to disqualify our team and has requested COSAFA to avail the name of the player who is alleged to be over the required age.
We have appealed against the CAF and COSAFA decision and we are confident that we did not deliberately breach regulations governing the U17 tournament.”