South Sudan U17 national team has been disqualified from AFCON U17 Algeria 2023 due to non-eligibility of five (5) players after a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test.
In a press statement seen by The Radio Community, the South Sudan Football Association says it is saddened over the disqualification of the team from participating in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
‘’The South Sudan Football Association regrets to announce that their team has been disqualified from the AFCON U17 Algeria 2023 due to the non-eligibility of five (5) players after the MRI test.’’
The MRI test was conducted on the 26th of April 2023 to ensure that all players meet the age eligibility criteria set by the competition’s regulations.
‘’Unfortunately, we received yesterday 28th April 2023 notification from CAF that five of our players did not pass the MRI test and were deemed ineligible to participate in the competition, although two of the five players were part of the team which participated in the zonal qualifiers and passed the MRI eligibility in Ethiopia last September 2022,’’ the press statement reads.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) disqualified the team a day before the opening Group C match against Cameroon which was scheduled for May 1st.
“Kindly be informed that the South Sudan U17 National team has been disqualified from the competition for having more than 3 ineligible players as per the MRI eligibility test,” CAF Announced their decision.
The South Sudan Football Association said it filed a complaint to the CAF medical committee against their decision, but it was rejected.
‘’We immediately wrote a complaint to the CAF medical committee, an official complaint against their decision attaching the MRI results we did in Juba, in accordance with Article 27.6 sub article (iii) of the U17 regulations. The complaint was rejected by the medical saying that their first and second readings remains the same.’’ The statement adds.
Albino Kuek Deng, SSFA spokesperson say they apologize to the fans, sponsors, and partners for any disappointment this may cause.
The South Sudan Football Association would like to emphasize that they have always been committed to fair play and sportsmanship.
‘’We would like to thank our fans, sponsors, and partners for their continued support, and we look forward to participating in future competitions. SSFA will conduct a press conference for more information about the team disqualifications.’’
The Junior Bright Starts left Juba for Algeria last week on Monday April 24, 2023, for Algeria to fully participate in AFCON U-17 and they were seen off by the President of the South Sudan Football Association, Mr. Augustino Maduot.
The South Sudan Football Association said the team has been preparing for this competition for a long time and was eager to showcase their football skills on the international stage.
The decision now leaves Group C with only three teams comprising Cameroon, Mali, and Burkina Faso.