Take age fraud in football by horns

Tuesday, August 8th, 2023 02:00 | By
Serani Boys and Shimba Hills in action during the finals of the Coast region football games. PD/HARRISON KIVISU
Serani Boys and Shimba Hills in action during the finals of the Coast region football games. PHOTO/Harrison Kivisu.

When the National Secondary Schools Term One Games gets underway today stretching up to August 12 in Kakamega, it is prudent that the organisers take the widespread problem of age-cheating by the horns.

For a lengthy time, the games have been crowd-pullers but have unfortunately held the infamy of falsification of ages by some unscrupulous competitors who are overly eager to get undue advantage over their opponents.

In a nutshell, such balderdash should not be condoned as it has put the programme into disrepute much to the shame of our country.

A case in point was in 2016 when Kenya hosted the East Africa Games in Eldoret where there were widespread claims that some schools had cheated behind the back of the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) under whose aegis the event is held.

There was a similar scenario a year ago when two schools in Kisii County were banned from the games for fielding overage players.

KSSSA must deal decisively with schools breaking the rules as such deterrent is needed now to restore sanity at the games and especially when winning schools are headed for the East Africa extravaganza.

It is hearty to learn that there is light at the end of the tunnel in ending the iniquity after the Ministry of Education made it a requirement that all students participating in school games’ championships must be first captured in the National Education Management Information System (Nemis) before they can be allowed to compete.

Ideally, the schools’ competitions are tailored to provide an ideal spring board for young sportsmen and women to launch their careers and make names for themselves in future but when manipulation in their ages occurs, it’s tantamount to making no sense of their efforts.

It is absurd that adults masquerading as youth have been finding their way into school teams which is a sad epitaph and especially this time when we are searching for talented young players to join junior national teams in various disciplines.

To this end, KSSSA is duty bound to deal decisively with schools that are in blatant breach of the rules to restore sanity and integrity in the games.

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