Timor Leste accused of fielding 22-year-old at AFF U-15 tournament
The perennial issue of over-age players taking part in youth tournaments has reared its ugly head at the ongoing Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-15 Championship in Chonburi, Thailand.
At least two teams have been accused of fielding players over 15 years of age, the most prominent of whom is Timor Leste captain Paulo Domingos Gali da Costa Freitas, who scored four goals in their 7-1 thrashing of the Philippines last weekend.
In Timor Leste's senior squad that took part in last year's AFF Suzuki Cup, there is also a player with the same name and appearance. He is listed as being 22 years old on the official 2018 Suzuki Cup website.
Malaysia coach P. Maniam told New Straits Times (NST) he was told that Freitas has "two identification cards".
Freitas scored on Wednesday as Timor Leste held Indonesia to a 1-1 draw.
On the same day, the AFF released a media statement, saying that it is investigating a case of player ineligibility after receiving protests.
NST reported that Indonesia have already taken the case to the Asian Football Confederation.
The Indonesians' frustration is expected as both Timor Leste and them have seven points each after three matches, but Timor Leste are top of Group A due to a better goal difference.
Maniam claimed that Freitas is not the only over-age player at the tournament, but he is not making a big fuss as his team are only there to gain experience.
He said: "Laos probably have one over-age player. Based on my observation, striker Phomma Khotphouthone looks 18 or 19, but we are not going to make a fuss... no plans to file a case against them."
Players are not required to go through bone density tests for age verification at this tournament.