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AFCON U-17: Somalia’s rising star sidelined by controversial age verification.

Mogadishu:-Standout striker Abdihafid Mohamed will likely miss the upcoming U17 African Cup of Nations. He has been excluded from Somalia’s official roster due to a failed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) screening. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) relies on MRI screenings to verify players’ ages by scanning their wrists.
The Somali Football Federation, understandably puzzled, demanded additional evidence regarding Abdihafid’s test results. Initial screenings conducted by SCANADU in Addis Ababa and Mogadishu suggested he passed stage 5+ and had yet to reach the elimination stage 6. The federation now finds itself requesting the MRI scan result for the player.
Abdihafid, who plays professional football for Elman in the Somali Premier League,  has been a vital cog in the machinery of the Somalia U17 national team. In October, he played a starring role in securing Somalia’s first-ever Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) title with a 3-1 victory over South Sudan. Abdihafid received the accolade of Best Player in the Tournament.
The TotalEnergies U17 African Cup of Nations Algeria 2023 will take place between 29 April and 19 May 2023, with the opening match scheduled for Saturday, 29 April, at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers. In their tournament debut, Somalia faces a formidable Group A, which includes host nation Algeria, Senegal, and Congo. The team will be led by Coach Nur Mohamed Amin.
The CAF Executive Committee approved a recommendation amending Article 27 of the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations Regulations, outlining compulsory eligibility tests, including MRI scans, for participating teams. Introduced by FIFA in the 2009 Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria, MRI scans address the issue of over-aged players in Africa’s age-group competitions.
Under the new rules, Somalia cannot replace Abdihafid if deemed ineligible. Several teams were disqualified from regional qualifiers in recent years due to over-aged players. Chad, Djibouti, and Sudan faced disqualification from the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last year when wrist scans revealed some players exceeded the age limit.
Somalia kicks off their AFCON campaign during the tournament opener in Algiers on Saturday, with matches against Congo and Senegal to follow.
Shirt No. Name Position Birthdate Current Club(Country)
1 MOHAMED ADAN OSMAN GK 01.01.2007 Hiliwa Academy (Somalia)
2 ABDULLE ABDULLAHI ABDULLE DF 03.11.2006 Heegan S.C. (Somalia)
3 KHALID AHMED HASSAN DF 09.02.2006 Darul Tarbiyah School (Somalia)
4 ABDULKADIR OSMAN MOHAMED DF 10.04.2007 Jaziira S.C. (Somalia)
5 AYUB HASSAN MADEY DF 01.02.2007 Jabir School (Somalia)
6 SAID MOHAMED ABDI MF 05.01.2006 Umahospital F.C. (Somalia)
7 ABDALLA OMAR OSMAN MF 08.07.2006 Gasco F.C. (Somalia)
8 MOHAMUD ABDUKADIR MUSTAF MF 07.02.2006 Gasco F.C. (Somalia)
9 ABDIRAHIN MOHAMED DAHIR FW 26.06.2006 Gasco F.C. (Somalia)
10 ABDIHAFID MOHAMED ABDI MF 10.06.2007 Elman F.C. (Somalia)
11 BADRI HUSSEIN AHMED FW 03.08.2006 Woxol F.C. (Somalia)
12 HASSAN ADAN BARREH DF 18.09.2007 Leister F.C. U16 (England)
13 ABDIKADIR ALI MOHAMED GK 19.05.2006 Badbaadbo F.C. (Somalia)
14 AHMED HASSAN MOHAMED MF 06.03.2007 Banadir Zone School (Somalia)
15 MUHIDIN MUKHTAR ISMAN DF 01.10.2007 Jabir School (Somalia)
16 ABDIRAHIN FARAH KULANE FW 10.02.2007 Xamarweyne Academy (Somalia)
17 YASIIN ABDIRAHMAN ABDELQADIR FW 23.08.2006 Lyn 1896 FK (Norway)
18 ABDIRAHMAN AHMED ABDALLA DF 01.05.2006 Heegan S.C. (Somalia)
20 IDRIIS ABDIWAHAB ADEN MF 25.06.2007 IFK Uddevalla U17 (Sweden)
 21  ABDIASIS ABDIRAHMAN BAHUR  FW  03.03.2006  Toronto FC (Canada)
 22  DINI MOHAMED DAHIR  FW  01.06.2007  Banadir Zone School (Somalia)
 23  JABRIL ALI AHMED  GK  20.03.2007  Dalsan School (Somalia)