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AFCON U-17: Somalia's rising star sidelined by controversial age verification

Thursday April 27, 2023



Mogadishu (HOL) - Standout striker Abdihafid Mohamed will likely miss the upcoming U17 African Cup of Nations. He has been excluded from Somalia's official roster due to a failed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) screening. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) relies on MRI screenings to verify players' ages by scanning their wrists.

The Somali Football Federation, understandably puzzled, demanded additional evidence regarding Abdihafid's test results. Initial screenings conducted by SCANADU in Addis Ababa and Mogadishu suggested he passed stage 5+ and had yet to reach the elimination stage 6. The federation now finds itself requesting the MRI scan result for the player.

Abdihafid, who plays professional football for Elman in the Somali Premier League,  has been a vital cog in the machinery of the Somalia U17 national team. In October, he played a starring role in securing Somalia's first-ever Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) title with a 3-1 victory over South Sudan. Abdihafid received the accolade of Best Player in the Tournament.

The TotalEnergies U17 African Cup of Nations Algeria 2023 will take place between 29 April and 19 May 2023, with the opening match scheduled for Saturday, 29 April, at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers. In their tournament debut, Somalia faces a formidable Group A, which includes host nation Algeria, Senegal, and Congo. The team will be led by Coach Nur Mohamed Amin.

The CAF Executive Committee approved a recommendation amending Article 27 of the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations Regulations, outlining compulsory eligibility tests, including MRI scans, for participating teams. Introduced by FIFA in the 2009 Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria, MRI scans address the issue of over-aged players in Africa's age-group competitions.

Under the new rules, Somalia cannot replace Abdihafid if deemed ineligible. Several teams were disqualified from regional qualifiers in recent years due to over-aged players. Chad, Djibouti, and Sudan faced disqualification from the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last year when wrist scans revealed some players exceeded the age limit.

Somalia kicks off their AFCON campaign during the tournament opener in Algiers on Saturday, with matches against Congo and Senegal to follow.
Shirt No.NamePositionBirthdateCurrent Club(Country)
1MOHAMED ADAN OSMANGK01.01.2007Hiliwa Academy (Somalia)
2ABDULLE ABDULLAHI ABDULLEDF03.11.2006Heegan S.C. (Somalia)
3KHALID AHMED HASSANDF09.02.2006Darul Tarbiyah School (Somalia)
4ABDULKADIR OSMAN MOHAMEDDF10.04.2007Jaziira S.C. (Somalia)
5AYUB HASSAN MADEYDF01.02.2007Jabir School (Somalia)
6SAID MOHAMED ABDIMF05.01.2006Umahospital F.C. (Somalia)
7ABDALLA OMAR OSMANMF08.07.2006Gasco F.C. (Somalia)
8MOHAMUD ABDUKADIR MUSTAFMF07.02.2006Gasco F.C. (Somalia)
9ABDIRAHIN MOHAMED DAHIRFW26.06.2006Gasco F.C. (Somalia)
10ABDIHAFID MOHAMED ABDIMF10.06.2007Elman F.C. (Somalia)
11BADRI HUSSEIN AHMEDFW03.08.2006Woxol F.C. (Somalia)
12HASSAN ADAN BARREHDF18.09.2007Leister F.C. U16 (England)
13ABDIKADIR ALI MOHAMEDGK19.05.2006Badbaadbo F.C. (Somalia)
14AHMED HASSAN MOHAMEDMF06.03.2007Banadir Zone School (Somalia)
15MUHIDIN MUKHTAR ISMANDF01.10.2007Jabir School (Somalia)
16ABDIRAHIN FARAH KULANEFW10.02.2007Xamarweyne Academy (Somalia)
18ABDIRAHMAN AHMED ABDALLADF01.05.2006Heegan S.C. (Somalia)
20IDRIIS ABDIWAHAB ADENMF25.06.2007IFK Uddevalla U17 (Sweden)
 21 ABDIASIS ABDIRAHMAN BAHUR FW 03.03.2006 Toronto FC (Canada)
 22 DINI MOHAMED DAHIR FW 01.06.2007 Banadir Zone School (Somalia)
 23 JABRIL ALI AHMED GK 20.03.2007 Dalsan School (Somalia)


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