Former Super Eagles defender, Ifeanyi Udeze attributes age cheat as one of the common problems affecting the growth of football globally.
Udeze had a long and productive professional football career in Europe. He was Captain of PAOK Thessaloniki in Greece and later played for West Brom.
Having made his full international debut in 2001, Udeze went on to feature for Nigeria at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations and 2004, playing two games.
He was also part of the Super Eagles squad that played at the 2002 World Cup, where the team crashed out in the group stage at the Mundial.
He told Brila FM that age cheat remains a significant issue in Nigeria and that most players don’t play with their real age. This he also said has been confirmed by former Super Eagles duo of Austine Jay-Jay Okocha and Taribo West.
“As long as you were born in Nigeria before travelling to Europe; to play football, you must have falsified your age,” Udeze said on his radio show [Ifeanyi Udeze’s Dairy] on Brila FM.
“It’s a common practice in Nigeria as well as most parts of Africa and South America, so it isn’t just a Nigerian thing.
“However, the bigger problem is how blatant some players do this thing in Nigeria. You’ll find footballers older than 35 posing as 18 year-olds.
“I am not the first to admit age cheating exists here, Okocha (Jay-Jay), West (Taribo) and some others have mentioned this in the past.”
Udeze last featured for Nigeria in a 2006 World Cup qualifier against Angola national football team in 2005.