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Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 16:19 UK

Nigeria drops players after scans

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Nigeria's under-17 team celebrate winning the 2007 World Cup
Nigeria are reigning under-17 world champions and the hosts this year

Nigeria have dropped 15 players from their Under-17 World Cup squad, following tests to determine the ages of team members.

Nigeria are the hosts of the tournament, which kicks off at the end of October.

The move to scan the players came after football's world governing body Fifa announced plans to carry out tests during the tournament itself.

Coach John Obuh now has a squad of 23 players remaining for the event.

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) spokesman Ademola Olajire told the BBC the move to drop the 15 had been taken after the results of the tests were discovered, and on performance grounds.

"The decision was taken because the NFF was concerned with the preservation of Nigeria's good image," said Olajire.

NFF President Sani Lulu Abdullahi said the decision to drop the players would not prevent Nigeria from the defending the title they won in South Korea two years ago.

"We had 38 players in camp and some of them failed [age tests]," he was quoted as saying.

"[But] that does not mean that we do not have a team that will represent us at the World Cup - we still have a good team."

Nigeria have won the Under-17 World Cup three times, in 1985, 1993 and 2007.

The Golden Eaglets, as Nigeria's under-17 team is known, have been drawn against Germany, Argentina and Honduras in the first round and will be based in Abuja.

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see also
Nigeria handed tough U17 draw
08 Aug 09 |  African
Nigeria players to be age-tested
14 Jul 09 |  African
Fifa happy with Nigeria progress
07 Aug 09 |  African
Fifa hands Nigeria ultimatum
01 Jun 09 |  African
Nigeria dismiss U-17 coach Nwosu
24 Apr 09 |  African

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