Joseph Minala: Italian FA confirms Lazio youth player is 17

Lazio midfielder Joseph Minala did not lie about his age, an official Italian Football Association (FIGC) investigation has ruled.

An African football website stated in February that Cameroon-born Minala was 42, but was claiming to be 17.

The accusation led to an official investigation which saw him questioned by the league’s federal prosecutor.
“The investigation did not show any need for disciplinary action,” an FIGC statement read.

Minala joined the Rome club last summer and played for them in the Viareggio Cup youth tournament in February.

This is not the first time questions have been raised about the ages of African-born football players.

Former Nigeria international Jonathan Akpoborie, 45, says age fraud is “rampant” in African football and describes it as the “biggest problem” the game faces.

The use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was introduced by FIFA in 2009 for the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria to help work out whether players were over age or not.