Age-cheat lands European deal

African Football

DR Congo star Meschak Elia has officially signed a three-year deal with Swiss side Young Boys after initially being hit with a ban for age-cheating amidst a contractual dispute.

Elia, 22, is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in African football and attracted widespread interest across Europe for his displays with TP Mazembe and the DRC national team.

However, the two-time CAF Confederation Cup-winning striker saw his career spiral into turmoil in November last year when he decided to go AWOL and flee to Switzerland.

READ: Elia banned for falsifying age

Scroll through the gallery to see 10 players who were caught age-cheating in football

The Congolese Association Football Federation (FECOFA) subsequently served him with a 12-month ban as he looked to sign for the European side as a free agent and claiming he was seeking asylum as a refugee.

READ: Shock details emerge on age-cheat

However, last week Mazembe confirmed that FIFA had provisionally cleared the 22-year-old to play again while his contract dispute with them was being looked into.

While Elia has claimed the allegations made against him of falsifying his age and going AWOL before his switch to Anderlecht was untrue, his new club has revealed he could make his debut on Sunday.

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"Meschack Elia has been granted the right to play by both FIFA and SFV," the statement from the Swiss Super League club read.

"The national player of DR Congo can thus be used for the top game in St. Gallen on Sunday.

"As reported two weeks ago, Elia and his former club TP Mazembe disagree about the termination of the employment contract last autumn. 

"The sporting direction of the Young Boys has come to the conclusion after a thorough examination that the player did not let anything go into debt."