By Tony Ubani
THE Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, may be spoiling for war against world soccer-governing body, FIFA, over the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI, in their bid to flush out age cheats in the U-17 World Cup which Nigeria hosts in October.
The MRI trap had already depleted the Nigerian team with 15 of such cheats flushed out by the NFF. But NFF President, Sani Lulu, said on Monday that his Federation would not use the MRI FIFA standard in detecting over-aged players.
â€œIâ€™ll not use the MRI to disqualify my players. When we came on board to serve Nigerian people, we promised to eradicate age cheats in cadet championships. FIFA has not informed us on the MRI but I can only use it as a guideâ€, Lulu said.
Meanwhile, our Abuja Correspondent, FIDELIS EBU quotes Sports Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, NSC, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, as saying that Nigeria would abide by FIFA on the MRI. â€œWe will not deviate from Fifaâ€™s requirement in terms of ascertaining playersâ€™ ageâ€, the minister said on the issue of ascertaining the ages of players that would represent the country in next monthâ€™s Under-17 World Cup.
Ndanusa spoke against the backdrop of the Nigeria Football Federationâ€™s leadership decision to invite the parents of the players to testify to the ages of their children invited to represent the country.
â€œThe whole world has gone digital and we are following suit. We are no longer in the era of analogueâ€, Ndanusa remarked and added â€œso, we are going to adhere to Fifa standard in ascertaining the ages of the players we are going to parade. Fifa has indicated the use of MRI, and we are going to just adhere to that, simpleâ€.