Lying about your age is known as Age fraud. It is age fabrication whereby false documentation about one’s age is used to gain an advantage over opponents or to receive a favour. Age fraud is rampant in football. It is common amongst players from underdeveloped countries where adequate records and documents are not easily verifiable. Many footballers have lied about their age. They do so to play in youth tournaments, to have an advantage against an opponent and to secure football contracts.
Today, you will find out footballers who lied about their age. Many footballers obviously lied about their age. However, I’ll only include those who were caught and who never denied the accusations.
4 Footballers Who Lied About Their Age
1. Gourav Mukhi
Gourav Mukhi is an Indian footballer who lied about his age. He became the youngest ever player to score in the Indian Soccer League (ISL) when he scored at the ‘ age of 16’ for his club Jamshedpur FC.
Everyone thought Mukhi was wrong because mere looking at him, you would see that he was way older. To sum the story up, Mukhi was caught and branded as an age cheat.
Gourav Mukhi was suspended for six months by the All Indian Football Federation. Later they discovered that he was actually 28 years of age and not 16, Crazy right?
2. Tobie Mimboe
Tobie Bayard Mimboe retired as a fulfilled Cameroonian footballer. During his playing career, he played for several teams in South America and China.
He even took part in two African Cup of Nations, in 1996 and 1998.
However, Mimboe is remembered for his numerous birth certificates sagas. During the 1996 African Cup of Nations, he used a birth certificate which stated he was born in 1964, making him 31 years. Then in 1997, he joined Gençlerbirliği in 1997, and his birth documents were stated as 30 June 1974, making him to 23 years old.
That wasn’t all. In the next AFCON in 1998, he the date of birth as 30 June 1970, making him 28 years. His name is etched in the Best Sports Books as the ‘Peter Pan’ of birth certificates.
3. Carlos Alberto
When Carlos Alberto was young, he won the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship with Brazil (Under 20). It was later discovered that he used a fake document to claim that he was born on 24 January 1983. He was actually born on 24 January 1978, meaning that he was 25 years of age when they won the tournament.
The Brazilian defensive midfielder now plays for Joinville Esporte Clube.
4. Ángel Cheme
Ángel Cheme didn’t just lie about this age but also did identity theft. The Ecuadorian footballer changed his name to Gonzalo Javier Chila Palma and used that name for most of his career.
He claimed that he was born on 9 December 1984, and that allowed him to play in youth competitions and age-restricted matches for three years. They later found that Gonzalo Chila was the real name of a player who was three years younger than he was. They had met when they both had trials at a local club, and Cheme stole his identity.
In December 2010, Cheme was accused by the real Gonzalo Chila, who later became an evangelical pastor. The Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) investigated the accusations and found out that Cheme was actually born in 1981. He was found guilty and suspended for one year.
The introduction of Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 2009 has helped to ascertain whether players are lying about their age or not. MRI is said to be 99% accurate until the age of 17.
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