Safa’s new dig­i­tal plat­form will counter ‘age cheat­ing’ in am­a­teur soc­cer

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD - THAHIR ASMAL

SAFA Phoenix is pre­par­ing for a ground­break­ing sea­son when the cam­paign gets un­der way in two weeks’ time.

For the first time in the Lo­cal

Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s his­tory, the threat of age cheat­ing among the ju­nior ranks will be weeded out.

Age cheat­ing is where the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments of older play­ers are doc­tored by ad­min­is­tra­tors so they gain an un­fair ad­van­tage by play­ing against younger op­po­si­tion. It has plagued am­a­teur foot­ball for decades.

Now, thanks to a dig­i­tal plat­form called Mysafa, the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of all play­ers will be checked with de­tails avail­able from the Home Af­fairs De­part­ment.

“We are among a small num­ber of as­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers in the prov­ince who are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the sys­tem that has been made avail­able to us by the sport’s gov­ern­ing body,” said Safa Phoenix chair­man Des­mond Gane­san.

“Once teams send us their regis­tra­tion doc­u­ments, we will up­load the in­for­ma­tion to the por­tal. It then checks the in­for­ma­tion with Home Af­fairs’ records to en­sure ev­ery player has sub­mit­ted le­git­i­mate in­for­ma­tion.”

Safa Phoenix cur­rently boasts one of the big­gest ju­nior play­ing struc­tures in the prov­ince and the new sys­tem will help to de­velop play­ers in a fair en­vi­ron­ment.

“The play­ing fields have been lev­elled. Now we will see the true po­ten­tial of our kids. This will al­low them to ex­press them­selves and de­velop in a like-for-like league,” Gane­san said.

This year’s com­pe­ti­tion will cater for ju­nior play­ers between the ages of 7 and 17, while the se­niors will com­pete across three di­vi­sions, in­clud­ing a Pre­mier League cat­e­gory.

“We are busy with club reg­is­tra­tions at the mo­ment. His­tor­i­cally, clubs have been slow to come for­ward with their doc­u­ments. We are aim­ing to get go­ing by the end of the month, so I would like to urge clubs to get their ad­min­is­tra­tion in or­der,” said Gane­san.

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