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Vic

U17 Women's World Cup: September 5-25, Trinidad and Tobago

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Nigeria v. South Africa, 2010 CAF Semi-Final:

cafu17.jpg

I read a number of Nigerian forums this morning and there are two flavours of domestic fans. One who calls the South African protest sour grapes and another who are well aware the team uses overagers. Some posters believe over half the team is overage, some by close to a decade.

Fortuitously dovetailing is an interesting piece on the Nigerian age issue in Vanity Fair earlier this week. I presume it was in the magazines approval foodchain long before the South African women's protest came to light:

From http://www.vanityfair.com/online/fairplay/2010/05/letter-from-lagos.html:

In fact, just days before the [2009 Men's U17 World Cup] tournament, half of the [Nigeria] Golden Eaglets team was dropped when the MRI imaging found that they were well over 17 years old. But the suspicion remained, strengthened by the evidence of our eyes, that the remainder were also men, not boys.

Around the time that the Nigerian team was pummeling Spain in the semi-finals, around the time that local fervor was reaching its highest pitch, a former Super Eagles player, Amiesimaka, came out with the news that Chukwudi Uche was, “at least 25 years old.” Amiesimaka had worked as a coach for a local team, and said, “One of my key players then is the current captain of our so-called Under-17 Golden Eaglets. By his own admission at that time, that is seven years ago, he was 18 years old.” The amazing thing is that he was basically met with one of two reactions: he was insulted, or he was ignored. The tournament went on and, in the final, a very boyish Swiss side defeated the mannish Golden Eaglets 1-0 to win the cup.

...

While we were watching the Under-17 final, my father said: “The person who steals chickens at night and the one who steals it during the day have one thing in common: they both use the same woven basket.”

Well, what does that mean, dad?

“Nigeria are age cheats,” my father said, “but the Swiss, famous for some of the harshest immigration restrictions in the world, have been generous in giving citizenships to Brazilian, Turkish, Ghanaian and Croatian boys. It’s a scam with documents, the Nigerian one is undocumented. So, who is the real cheat?”

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Nigeria v. South Africa, 2010 CAF Semi-Final:

“Nigeria are age cheats,” my father said, “but the Swiss, famous for some of the harshest immigration restrictions in the world, have been generous in giving citizenships to Brazilian, Turkish, Ghanaian and Croatian boys. It’s a scam with documents, the Nigerian one is undocumented. So, who is the real cheat?”

That's unfair. Most of the "non-Swiss" were born in Switzerland, came over as refugees, or the kids of immigrants.

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I imagine his point was over half the Swiss team had foreign names (Spanish/Portuguese, Slavic, etc). I'm sure their immigration policy is the reason and like you say there were more natural causes. No doubt his view is overly nationalistic and based on there being no "foreigners" on Nigeria's roster. And yes I understand that's an invalid argument based on an improper use of the word.

The Swiss during and after WWII performed a lot of fast and free with documents and no doubt he's busting them on their reputation. He is of course wrong and the argument is unfair, but it's also understandable.

The end of the 20th century in athletics was the era of drug testing. The future will be DNA, MRI and other scientific sampling to determine not just the presence of drugs, but also gender and age.

Edited by Vic
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U17 International Friendlies

April 3/5, 2010

Game 1: USA 4 - 1 Brazil

Game 2: USA 2 - 2 Brazil

Home video:

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Good find Vic.

I only saw the first 2 clips... hopefully they were not representative of the whole game. Quite boring and unstructured for these 2 teams....

Go Canada!

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Pretty unusual play for two of the three top countries in the women's world representing half a billion people.

The odds would be the Germans for the UEFA title but as we proved in Costa Rica in one game anything can happen. I'm still completely stunned we eliminated the #1 world ranked Americans - who are traditionally even more superior at the younger ages. I hope the Irish are watching the game tape.

Barring a German meltdown, you would think UEFA2 will be the winner of the Spain/Netherlands semi. Both have serious nationally funded super leagues with high quality competition, coaching and programs that recruit, train and produce these selected young players.

The good news is the UEFA final is live on Eurosport June 26th, which is usually pretty easy to pickup online, so we'll be able to watch the game in real time and get a sneak peek at UEFA2.

Ireland

1477157_w2.jpg

Netherlands

1476399_w2.jpg

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Absolutely massive thanks to CBC for this serendipitous and wonderful piece on Nigerian U17 women's soccer.

Article | Photo Gallery

Interesting note:

I visited a training session of the Falcon's U-17 preparation program in the town of Abeokuta, about an hour outside Lagos. They had been in and out of training camp, and essentially out of school, since January, in preparation for qualification matches for the U-17 World Cup.

Thank you Anjali Nayar, and again thank you CBC.

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Good insight on how soccer (female and male) players are motivated to train/develop in some of the African countries, as soccer is seen as a way out, or at least providing some sort of life betterment for a period of time. Too many distractions for the Canadian kids...

So, should we really be worried about Nigeria or Ghana at the U17 WC? Would they compare to T&T??

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They would blow T&T off the field.

U20

2002

Nigeria 1-1 Japan

Denmark 2-1 Nigeria

Nigeria 0-2 Canada (WC Silver medalists)

2004

Nigeria 0-1 China

Brazil 2-3 Nigeria

Italy 1-1 Nigeria

2006

Nigeria 3-2 Canada

China 3-0 Nigeria

Finland 0-8 Nigeria

2008

New Zealand 2-3 Nigeria

Nigeria 1-1 England

Nigeria 2-0 Chile

U17

2008

Korea 1-2 Nigeria

Nigeria 0-1 England

Nigeria 2-2 Brazil

Ghana

North Korea 1-1 Ghana

Ghana 2-3 Germany

Ghana 1-0 Costa Rica

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They would blow T&T off the field.

U20

2002

Nigeria 1-1 Japan

Denmark 2-1 Nigeria

Nigeria 0-2 Canada (WC Silver medalists)

2004

Nigeria 0-1 China

Brazil 2-3 Nigeria

Italy 1-1 Nigeria

2006

Nigeria 3-2 Canada

China 3-0 Nigeria

Finland 0-8 Nigeria

2008

New Zealand 2-3 Nigeria

Nigeria 1-1 England

Nigeria 2-0 Chile

U17

2008

Korea 1-2 Nigeria

Nigeria 0-1 England

Nigeria 2-2 Brazil

Ghana

North Korea 1-1 Ghana

Ghana 2-3 Germany

Ghana 1-0 Costa Rica

OH My! Now I see why all the concern over our Group....

We need so much to play vs. other U17 teams to get ready for Sept... and not just vs. University or other Senior teams.

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Canada's U17 will be participating in a 4 nations tournament in July. This will take place in a city in northern Chile yet TBA. No word yet as to who the other two nations will be.

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Good stuff and 4-4 sounds like it would have been great viewing.

A couple of interesting recent articles from inside Nigeria:

Clamp down on age cheats

War on age falsificationT

And outside:

Age cheating rampant in African football

The above article is the only one not from May 2010, but it does mention that at the U17 Men's World Cup last year, over half Nigeria's team failed age testing.

Nigerian Minister tackles age cheats

There's a great quote in the above piece from the coach of a team playing against the Nigeria U17 men last year about the player who after the game got in his mini-cab and drove away with his wife and two children.

Back on topic there is also an interesting quote about the South African U17 protest over Nigerian players and the fallout from it:

Fifa dismissed the protest of course. But thank goodness they have noted South Africa’s concerns and have now instructed that from today, the world controlling body will extend the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to testing women in youth soccer competitions following the complaint by the South Africans.

The key question was whether bone-fusing patterns in the wrist are indicative of age in girls as is the case with boys. If the article is authentic, then it is. If FIFA ever applies it however is another thing.

The Nigerian Sports Minister has proclaimed they will be MRI testing all their players as a standard practice, but obviously that's window dressing and not highly likely given the cost involved and pattern of history in the country.

Edited by Vic
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Any news on our U17's next camp? They should be in Florida now, but no news on games they are to play, who they brought etc.? Would be good to see if he invited some new faces.

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Any news on our U17's next camp? They should be in Florida now, but no news on games they are to play, who they brought etc.? Would be good to see if he invited some new faces.

I've not heard anything but they are certainly not in Florida right now since all Quebec girls that were part of the team in the Concacaf tournament haved played during last week-end with another that played no later than last night. That worries me. Looks like we are hapy with winning Concacaf or don't consider we have any chance going further than the first round in World Cup or we don't have any budget to train that team adequately. If we wanted to perform in that competition we should be already preparing. I might be wrong since I am not close to the team, but that does not seem to be the case yet.

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Canadian U-17 women to face Japan

"Canada’s women’s U-17 team, the reigning CONCACAF champion, will be in camp this 1-10 June in Sunrise, FL in advance of the international friendly match against Japan."

Looks to be lots of new faces in camp.

Japan was state of the art in the youth game two years ago with an extremely high level of mobility and interplay. If they're in the mood to run the engine it will be interesting to see where we measure up. This is about as good a prep match as there is.

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Yes lots of new faces but same type of player profile all the time... a la Rosenfeld. Really cool they can play Japan though a this stage!

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TSN aired a great ESPN documentary on the Haiti U17 girls team tonight. It showed the Dominicans and other neighbours taking them in and putting them up and feeding them and giving them a place to train. It went into the players lives after the tournament and showed girls sleeping in sewage, just trying to find food to eat, and all alone on the planet. They also showed clips of the USA beating them 9-0. There would have been so many classy ways for the Americans to handle that game, and I'm not talking about a couple of players hugging the goalkeeper at the end. I couldn't help but wonder if the Americans eventual demise wasn't simply karmic rebound for losing the big picture.

Edited by Vic
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Canada's U17 will be participating in a 4 nations tournament in July. This will take place in a city in northern Chile yet TBA. No word yet as to who the other two nations will be.

Mexico has also been confirmed to attend. One spot is still open. Chile's U17 has been invited to play some games in China later on.

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