by Rachel Ogbu
Ex-president of Partizan Belgrade, Zarko Zecevic has accused former Nigeria defender Taribo West of lying about his age claiming he was 28 while insisting that West 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,” he said.
According to the Croatian media, West who is now a devoted pastoralso lied when trying to join Croatia’s Rijeka club. They said when West was 44; he told club doctors he was only 32. However during a medical checkup, doctors raised suspicions with the club because Taribo’s knees suggested he was older.
West has since responded to the fresh allegations. He told reporters on Wednesday that: “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.”
During his professional career in Europe the former defender played with Derby County, Plymouth and Inter Milan, he joined Serbian team Partizan Belgrade in 2002 after leaving Derby County.
The Punch reports:
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.
Age-cheating has been a serious issue in Nigerian football especially since the world football governing body FIFA introduced age-grade competitions. Even though some of the foreign clubs have treated some of the country’s players with suspicions, this is the first bold and direct accusation made against a Nigerian player.
It was not immediately clear under what circumstance or forum that Mr. Zecevic raised the matter.