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Players confess being over-aged

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Amid age-cheating suspicions swirling around Malawi Under-20 National Football Team squad, two players have left camp training, voluntarily, after confessing that they are over-aged.

Silver Strikers youthful defenders, Mark Fodya and Trevor Kalema, left the camp at Mpira Village in Blantyre Wednesday after admitting that they were born outside the 1998 cut-off point.

“I was born on May 17 1997 but I thought that since I am not yet 21 [years old], I was still eligible for the Under-20 team. But officials told me that I was over-aged and I offered to leave camp because of that,” Kalema said.

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Questions were being asked on the inclusion in the squad of Kalema, Fodya and Silver team-mate Levison Maganizo, as the players were also part of coach Ernest Mtawali-led under-20 squad in 2014.

Kalema confirmed to have played in Mtawali’s team. Maganizo is still part of the team.

Fodya also confirmed that he was born in December 1997.

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“I do not want to discuss reasons for leaving [camp]. What I can tell you is that we discussed with the officials and reached an agreement. So, I am on my way back to Lilongwe. I have been assured that I will be called up for the Under-23 National Football Team,” he said.

Fodya admitted that he was also turned back from last year’s squad for the Cosafa Championship, but declined to state the reasons.

Asked to explain why he still reported for the training despite knowing that he falls outside the required age-group, Fodya said he was not ready to take more questions.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Technical Director, John Kaputa, said the two players offered to leave camp.

Kaputa said players who qualify for the junior national team should have been born not earlier than January 1 1998.

“We commend the two players for volunteering to leave [camp] without waiting for the completion of our scrutiny. The verification of the ages is continuous and it will affect all the players in camp. We are involving the players’ parents, churches, schools, Super League of Malawi and all the lower leagues,” Kaputa said.

He said four other players were expected to be dropped yesterday after noting inconsistencies in dates of birth appearing in their passports, league registration forms and information sourced from parents, churches and schools.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that William Thole, Josophat Kwalira from Azam Tigers, Aziz Pindani and Solomon Sayenda of Zomba United might be axed from the camp.

The pre-camp training session ends Thursday.

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