It's anybody's guess how old Congolese player Chancel Mbemba Mangulu really is.
CONFIRMED: Soccer's governing body analyzing documents to determine his age
In documents obtained by CNN, Mbemba's birth date ranges from 1988 to 1994. To confuse the situation even more, Mbemba claims he was born in 1990.
Mbemba was registered by his two first Congolese clubs as being born on Aug. 8, 1988, according to CNN. For a Cup of Nations qualifier in 2011, his birthdate was listed as Nov. 30, 1991. And the birthdate recorded by his Belgian club, Anderlecht, is Aug. 8, 1994.
According to the report, Mbemba's age first was fabricated as Congo was preparing for the 2012 Olympics. Because of his listed birthdate of 1988, Mbemba would have been too old to play for Congo's under-23 squad in the latter stages of qualifying rounds and at the London Olympics.
"We needed him, so we registered him as being born in 1991," an official of Congo's football federation, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject, told CNN.
And that isn't exactly a new practice.
"Most of the age cheating is intentional and aimed at securing victories in international youth competitions, or overseas contracts, especially in Europe," African historian Peter Alegi, author of "African Soccerscapes: How a Continent Changed the World's Game," told CNN.
In September 2011, Mbemba made his debut for Anderlecht's Under-19 team based on his new birthdate of 1994. But according to the report, the Belgian Football Association never registered the defender, meaning he was technically ineligible. FIFA then became involved in March 2012 because Mbemba was technically a minor under the Transfer Matching System rules based on his new birthdate of 1994. As a result, Anderlecht didn't offer Mbemba a contract, according to CNN.
MSN NEWS & RUMORS
MSN News seeks to give up-to-date information on rumors related to current events, people or even topics/issues of interest. We'll tell you what we can confirm from the rumor mill — and what we can't. If we can’t confirm a rumor, we'll share what we do know about it.
If you have a rumor you'd like to submit for review, email: email@example.com.
MSN News on Facebook and Twitter
Stay up to date on breaking news and current events.
Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/news.msn
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msnnews