South Sudan’s Under-17 national football team has been disqualified from the ongoing AFCON U17 Algeria 2023 tournament due to the non-eligibility of five players.
The five players are said to have failed the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test.
This medical imaging technique employs a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to produce highly-detailed images of the body’s internal structures.
The MRI test was conducted on April 26, 2023, to ensure that all players met the age eligibility criteria specified by the competition’s regulations.
As a result, the team’s debut at the tournament was cut short, dealing a significant blow to their aspirations
According to the statement released by the South Sudan Football Association (SSFA), two of the five players were part of the team that participated in the zonal qualifiers and passed the MRI eligibility test in Ethiopia in September 2022.
The SSFA immediately wrote a complaint to CAF medical committee, attaching the MRI results conducted in Juba, but the complaint was rejected, stating that their first and second readings remain the same.
Still in the statement, the football association also reiterated its commitment to fair play and sportsmanship and emphasized that it had taken all necessary steps to ensure that all its players meet the eligibility criteria set by the competition’s regulations.
The SSFA has announced that it will hold a press conference to provide more information about the disqualification.
This is a significant setback for South Sudan’s Under-17 national team, which had been preparing for their debut in the AFCON U17 tournament.
The disqualification of the five players will undoubtedly affect the whole team as they will return home and won’t play any game in this competition.
South Sudan was scheduled to play their first match against Cameroon’s Under-17 team on Monday evening.
The match was part of the Group C fixtures of the tournament, in which South Sudan was placed along with Burkina Faso and Mali as well.