African star banned for age-cheating

African Football

TP Mazembe and DR Congo forward Meschack Elia has been slapped with a one-year ban after falsifying his age in an attempt to win a contract in Europe.

Elia, 23, has emerged as one of the most promising attackers on the continent since joining Mazembe from domestic rivals Don Bosco in 2016.

After winning the CAF Confederation Cup twice, CAF Super Cup, 2016 CHAN and the DR Congo top-flight twice - it was reported that he was snapped up by Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht.

However, the Belgian club never confirmed the deal or unveiled the player, who then reported went AWOL since the end of the 2018/19 season.

The Vodacom Ligue 1 champions have since announced that he's been handed a 12-month suspension from all football-related activities after his alleged actions in Europe came to light.

"The Congolese Football Federation (FECOFA) has suspended the player with no access to sports facilities, and extension to the national teams of the DRC, CAF and FIFA," read the statement.

"Elia, influenced by an agent, ended up in Switzerland trying to join the Young Boys team in Bern. And did so by presenting a false passport, where his date of birth indicated 1997 and not 1996.

"FECOFA then concluded that the age in the passport was a forgery and suspended it based on several points of settlement."

The exciting winger has scored six goals in 21 caps for The Leopards and featured in all four of their games at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.