age cheats plague safa
Safa Soweto has been rocked by damning allegations of cheating involving an academy with international exchange programmes.
The allegations have resulted in Thabisong Sports Academy appointing a forensic audit team to verify the ages of the 125 youngsters belonging to the club.
Thabisong have signed arts and culture exchange programmes with France, Jamaica, Spain as well as Trinidad and Tobago.
Sowetan can reveal that coach of their Under-17 team, Lincon Mabaso, was the first casualty after he was suspended.
But Mabaso returned to his job last week after apologising for his actions. Mabaso was, however, not available for comment yesterday.
In the same breath, Mapetla Youth United's Under-13s lodged a protest against Thabisong last month claiming that the latter fielded an over-aged player.
It is alleged that Thabani Mashego (ID 940616580085) used the birth certificate of team-mate Thando Maphalala (ID 9502125154084) in a game that United lost 2-1.
Lehlohonolo Motaung, Mapetla's deputy chairman, said: "One of our players confronted him before the game saying he was too old to feature in that age group.
"Our player made it clear to us that he knew him personally. We lodged a protest and also went to his school (Thomas Mofolo Secondary in Naledi) to investigate.
"We were vindicated when we got to the school and were informed that the boy is a cheat. The problem is that most of the development coaches want to win at all cost."
Sowetan is in possession of two letters from Thabisong to Safa Soweto where they are owning up to fielding over-aged players.
This reporter visited Thomas Mofolo Secondary on Friday where the teachers said Mashego confessed two weeks ago of using another player's birth certificate.
This was after Mapetla's officials went to the school to investigate his real date of birth, a visit which has strengthened their case against Thabisong.
Sifiso "Shakes" Kunene, Thabisong's head coach, said: "Coach Lincoln is back after some misunderstanding when he registered certain players who did not qualify.
"He is back after apologising, we have since dismissed 12 players who lied about their ages. We have been investigating the matter.
"Some of the boys disappeared after I questioned them about their ages. The problem is that I found some of the players here, I joined them four months ago.
"I don't want cheats in my team," said Kunene, who was scheduled to meet all their coaches yesterday to discuss the issue.
Phil "Chippa" Mogodi, Safa Soweto boss, yesterday confirmed that Thabisong's age cheating scandal was being investigated.
Mogodi said the matter between Thabisong and Mapetla will be heard by their DC at their offices in Klipspruit tomorrow.
"We are going to be ruthless on all the people involved in cheating. It's killing our soccer, especially at development level."
Earlier this year, soccer giants Kaizer Chiefs withdrew their development sides from two major competitions to verify all their ages. Orlando Pirates are also doing an audit of their development players.