Former Super Eagles, Inter Milan, Derby County and Plymouth defender Taribo West has been accused of lying about his age.
The former Nigeria centre half, now retired, joined Serbian team Partizan Belgrade in 2002 after leaving Derby County and told club bosses he was 28.
But now the ex-president of Partizan, Zarko Zecevic, has accused him of lying, saying the defender was actually 40.
‘He joined us saying he was 28. We only later found out he was 40, but he was still playing well so I don’t regret having him on the team,’ Zecevic said.
But according to the Croatian media, the former defender known for his colourful hairstyles also lied when trying to join Croatia’s Rijeka club.
At the age of 44, they said West told club doctors he was only 32.
It was only after an examination that the doctors raised suspicions with the club because West’s knees suggested he was older.
He wasn’t signed to the team but later joined Plymouth and then Iranian side Paykan FC, where he ended his career at the age of 46 in 2008.
Today his Wikipedia entry says he is 39.
West has denied the claims in a telephone interview with Nigerian newspaper, The Punch. “I don’t really know what they are talking about and that’s why I don’t really have anything much to say. But it is curious that they are raising such matter about 10 years after I left the place. Why was the matter not raised while I was there? Why talk about it long after I retired from the game,” he said.
Age falsification is not a new thing in Nigerian football where many of the fans believe a player has two “ages” – original date of birth and “football age.”
African football legend Austin Okocha admitting on a popular Nigeria talk show – The Teju Baby Face Show – in 2011 that he lied about his age.
Source: Daily Mail.