Records at the Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) have put Patrick Gabadinho Mhango’s age at 22 and not 16 as his passport indicates, The Nation has established.
Massa general secretary Blackson Malamula on Wednesday confirmed that in 2008, Mhango was barred from participating in the Under-14 Africa Invest Tournament that took place at Civo Stadium because he was overage.
“He came to the finals with Embangweni Primary School, but he failed to pass the age test as he was 17 years old then,” said Malamula.
This was also corroborated by retired Northern Region Massa general secretary Joel Jennings Gondwe who led the delegation from Embangweni in 2008.
In a telephone interview from Mzuzu on Wednesday, Gondwe said Mhango was identified from Chiweta Primary School in Rumphi.
“We saw his talent and when Embangweni qualified for the finals of the Africa Investment, we roped him into the Embangweni team which was set to take part in the national finals in Lilongwe.
“When we arrived in Lilongwe before the actual game, the boys had to go through an age test and it was found that Gaba was 17 years old. So, he was barred from playing,” said Gondwe who was a teacher at Chibabvi Primary School in Mzuzu then.
“You can verify this information with Benjamin Kumwenda who was heading the panel which was responsible for scrutinising elements of age cheating in 2008,” challenged Gondwe.
Currently, Gondwe is Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary for the Northern Region.
Kumwenda [Mponela United coach], who is also Massa technical director, confirmed that Gaba was barred because he was overage.
Meanwhile, Big Bullets have accused FAM of having a hidden motive on the issue relating to Gabadinho’s age.
The development follows Football Association of Malawi (FAM) transfer matching system (TMS) manager Casper Jangale’s claims that even though Gabadinho has clinched a deal with South African top league side Bloemfontein Celtic, he cannot be featured in competitive games because, according to records, he is still a minor.