The President of Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Tebego Lebotse-Sebego says they are not worried of age cheating scandals at the on-going 2017 Youth Netball World Cup qualifiers hosted in Gaborone.
The tournament, which is played by under 21 players began this past weekend, where three out of nine African nations will be vying to join Botswana at next year’s world showpiece.
However in what has grown to become an ‘African trend,’ the use of false documentation to gain an advantage over opponents is usually a key point of concern at the hosting of junior competitions world-wide.
According to a research by one Dutch journalist Arnold Pannenborg, many if not all African countries ‘cheat’ with the age of their youth players during world sporting competitions.
In 2014, the Zambian Netball team was barred from taking part in the Confederation of Southern Africa School Sports Association ball games on suspicion of age cheating.
In an interview with Gazette Sport on the qualifiers eve, Lebotse-Sebego said verification of the players’ ages was done through the issuing of a birth certificate from each nation’s government.
“We use the verification of the birth certificate from the government of the responsible nations to verify the ages of the athlete,” said Lebotse-Sebego. The head of the association added that the process was done three months post the tournament.
“Three months before the event, countries were asked to provide a long list of about more than 20 players, so that we could verify that they are within the age brackets, and from the 20 players that is where the final team is selected from,” she added.
“During the verification process there was no case or suspicion of any player being over age or not falling within the age bracket,” carried the former netball star. The BONA president also conceded in closing that they could not rule out the possibility of some players providing false documents.
“We cannot rule that one out, there are always cases of people providing false documents, but really there is never much we can do about that one, because the governments never really helped in verifying the documents,” she ended.