age cheating rife

Richard Nkosi

Richard Nkosi

Age cheating among schools sports participants in Mpumalanga is rife.

This was evident on Saturday when four schools descended on Matsulu Stadium near Nelspruit.

Their mission was to decide the overall provincial school champions to represent the province in the national playoffs of the Coca-Cola Football Stars Under-18 tournament set for May 1 to 3 in Klerksdorp, North West.

Sofunda High School from Middelburg, who beat Lihawu High School from Nelspruit 2-0 in the first semifinal, were disqualified after it was found that they had fielded five overage players.

They forfeited the game and were forced to pay the transport costs that the organisers paid for all the finalists.

They were further suspended for two years from taking part in school sports.

Last year defending champions Lindile High School from Ermelo failed to defend their crown after also being found guilty of using overage players.

They were been banned for two years.

After gaining an advantage to proceed to the finals courtesy of Sofunda's cheating, Lihawu managed to redeem themselves as they beat Sizwakele High School from Secunda 3-1 on penalties.

The game ended tied at 1-all in regulation time.

Sizwakele booked their place in the final after booting out Puledi High School from Bushbuckridge 2-0 in the other semifinal.

Thoko Chippa, Mpumalanga tournament organiser, has warned all the schools that cheating will not be tolerated.

She said: "No school was clean. All the schools used overaged players though there was no proof with others.

"But we are warning them because they are depriving players who are supposed to play in that age group their opportunities," she said.

"The champions [Lihawu] had four players who were not cleared to play before the match because they were overage."

Other provincial schools which have made it to the national playoffs are Highlands North Boys from Gauteng and Port Nolloth High from Northern Cape.