Italian club Lazio have published documents on the club website which prove that teenage midfielder Joseph Minala is not 41 years old as has been alleged.
Lazio have threatened legal action against those who have questioned the legitimacy of the age of their 17-year-old Cameroonian player Minala.
The Cameroonian provoked debate over his age after posting a series of images on his social media accounts in which he appears older than a teenager.
Lazio released a club statement threatening legal action against any party declaring false allegations about Minala’s age.
“Lazio, referring to press reports relating to the age of player Joseph Minala, confirms the absolute legitimacy of the documentation filed with the federal authorities.
“We reserve the right to take action against those responsible for the protection of the good name of the company and the footballer.”
Minala himself issued a statement denying the claims of age fraud.
“I have read the alleged statements posted on the website senego.net in which it says I confessed my real age which was different to what was stated in my [official] documents.
“They are false statements that have been attributed to me by people who do not know,” he said.
Minala joined the Rome club last summer and recently played for them in the Viareggio Cup youth tournament.
Italian journalist Max Evangelista, who reports on Lazio’s youth team, said any suggestions the player was 41 were “unbelievable”.
He said Minala had scored five goals and made six assists this season for Lazio’s youth team, who are the holders of the national title.
Minala is not the first African star to have his age questioned. Nigerian footballers Obafemi Martins, Nwankwo Kanu and Yakubu Aiyegbeni have all had accusations of age fraud levelled at them.
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