Cameroon international Wilfried Nathan Douala, initially said to be just 17 years old, has now been included in an official list of 62 players suspected of age fraud

The Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT) has banned 62 players for its upcoming domestic season playoffs over age cheating.

Notably, this roster includes the youngest participant from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, who has been disqualified from the competition due to allegations of age falsification.

Midfielder Wilfred Nathan Douala garnered attention before the commencement of the AFCON in the Ivory Coast. Doubts arose regarding his age, listed at a mere 17 years old, prompting scrutiny from social media users who observed that he appeared older than his documented age.

These suspicions have now been validated as Douala, the youngest contender at the AFCON, joins the 62 players officially barred from further participation in Cameroon’s top-tier league this season due to “irregularities in identification and ages,” according to reports from BSN Sport.

This incident echoes previous occurrences in Cameroon. In January 2023, FECAFOOT suspended 21 out of 30 players selected for the U17 AFCON on similar grounds of age falsification. This decision followed a series of MRI tests aimed at accurately assessing bone development to verify players’ ages.

In an official statement, FECAFOOT attributed these actions to President Samuel Eto’o’s directives, expressing concern about the reputational harm caused by age fraud within the football organization, as reported by SoFoot.

“This action stems from strict instructions provided by the president of FECAFOOT, acting under the mandate from COMEX, to eradicate the manipulation of civil status that has previously tarnished the reputation of the umbrella body of Cameroonian football.”

Despite his selection for the Cameroon squad at the recent AFCON, Douala did not feature in any matches during the tournament.