A candidate for the Golden Boy and Kopa Trophy in 2023 has had his age called into doubt. The age of the wunderkind has been disputed, with some claiming that he is really 22, not 18.
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Reporters from throughout Europe vote annually for the young player they believe to be Europe's best performer, awarding him the Golden Boy award. Nominees must be less than 21 years old and be active in a top-flight European league.
Barcelona's Gavi won the 2022's edition. The Golden Boy Web award is given in addition to the main award and is chosen by the general public over the internet. Meanwhile, soccer players under the age of 21 are also recognized for their outstanding performance with the Kopa Trophy awarded by France Football.
It is named after the former French footballer Raymond Kopa, and past winners of the Ballon d'Or vote on the winner. While the Golden Boy award is reserved for European players alone, the Kopa Trophy is given to individuals who play in countries outside of Europe as well.
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2023 Golden Boy and Kopa Trophy contender accused of age fraud
Why is Youssoufa Moukoko in the eye of age fraud controversy?
Youssofa Moukoko of Germany.
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Youssoufa Moukoko, a rising star player for Borussia Dortmund, has purportedly been implicated in age fraud allegations that have rocked Cameroonian sport, prompting a notice from the French weekly magazine France Football and the general public. German authorities are investigating reports that Moukoko, who was born in Yaounde, Cameroon, and was adopted in 2014, is really 22 years old.
The Germany Qatar 2022 star was previously assumed to be 18 years old, thus holding the records for youngest Bundesliga debuting and youngest scored. According to reports out of Germany, however, Moukoko's birth certificate with the name Yousouffa Mohamadou and dated the year 2000 has just been unearthed.
Apparently, the player falsified his birth certificate, according to a report from an Austrian newspaper named Laoloa. In fact, the allegations surfaced after Cameroonian soccer had been plagued by accusations of age falsification. Recently, 21 of their U-17 players failed an age test, necessitating a complete roster overhaul.
While this was going on, it is speculated that Moukoko's father sent a journalist a birth certificate for his son, which incorrectly said that Moukoko was born in 2000. It wasn't the first time, however, that he had been accused of lying about his age. Borussia Dortmund's coaches argued about his age in 2017, but the German FA ruled against any wrongdoing.
Youssoufa Moukoko opens up on age rumors and publicity: "I wanted to quit."
The expectations remain high for a teenager who last year became both the youngest player to ever feature in the Bundesliga and the youngest one ever to score a goal.
In a weekend interview with Germany's Westdeutscher Allgemeine Zeitung, Youssoufa Moukoko opened up on the controversy surrounding his age and adjusting to the limelight.
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There are phenoms. There are Wunderkinds. Then there is Youssoufa Moukoko. The Cameroonian-born striker moved to Hamburg as a young boy to live with his father. His immediately apparent talent for the game led to Borussia Dortmund snatching him up from the FC St. Pauli developmental program shortly before his 12th birthday.
After less than three years in the BVB Juniors program, the Schwarzgelben simply had to promote him to the senior level. He's already scored three Bundesliga goals and might have tallied more were it not for a late season injury.
Given that his early life in West Africa is shrouded in a bit of mystery, there has been speculation as to his age. It is not uncommon at all for there to be some guesswork or even outright fudging when it comes to the birth certificates of African players.
Speaking with one of Germany's highest circulation newspapers over the weekend, Moukoko made clear that such speculation had hurt him.
"At the beginning, those reports were a real burden for me," he told the paper, "especially when my age was discussed. I didn't want to do that to myself anymore. I wanted to quit."
Despite the fact that Moukoko is widely heralded to potentially be the German national team's next big star, the teenager has suffered racial abuse on German footballing pitches. The most notable of these came when Schalke fans harassed and harangued him during a youth derby fixture last autumn.
For Moukoko, reports suggesting that he was in fact older, compounded the problem of being an African in Germany. Had he had a different heritage, such speculation would not have surfaced. He credited BVB youth team coach Sebastian Geppert with helping him cope with all the extra public attention and keeping him on his career path.
"I do miss being able to go out in public and not being recognized," Moukoko nevertheless divulged, "and things like eating in peace. There are moments when you want your peace and quiet."
Although Moukoko can by no means be considered a normal teenager, he still looks forward to things that an ordinary person of his age does.
"I'm awaiting my 17th birthday," he noted, "Then I'll be happy when I can get my drivers license. Having freedom and being independent is important to me."
Image Credit To: https://www.mirror.co.uk
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