‘Teenage’ Football Prodigy Turns Out To Be 28 Years Old

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Gourav MukhiLee Harvey/Twitter/Top Top Football/YouTube

I wonder what gave it away? Could it be the fully grown and immaculately groomed moustache?

Not saying some 16 year olds can’t grow moustaches, but I believe it takes years of practice to be able to tame one into such a well presented fashion statement.

Anyway, this is the news that a teenage football prodigy isn’t teen-aged at all. He’s actually a 28-year-old who seemingly has no moral compass and no qualms playing against people much younger than him.

Gourav Mukhi convinced football authorities in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) that he was actually 16, and has apparently been duping them for some time now, playing for Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League.

In October this year, Mukhi was even recognised for becoming the youngest player ever to score in the Indian Super League. Looks like they’re going to have change the record books now, though.

Strangely, however, an article published in India’s The Telegraph before the season began referred to Mukhi as 28 years old. Despite this, Mukhi still managed to dupe the AIFF.

It’s not the first time either. According to Fox Sports Asia, Mukhi was pulled out of an under 16s national camp in 2015 when organisers discovered his real age. Probably because he had perfectly barbered beard, I’m guessing.

According to The Telegraph, Mukhi had a ‘humble upbringing’, playing football at a small, uneven ground in the slums of Dhatkidih Harijan Bustee. His father was also a footballer for local clubs, but ‘could never make it big’.

Mukhi taught himself to play (and lie about his age), and his natural ability saw him gain places in league matches, which led to playing in the Jamshedpur Sporting Association (JSA) premier league.

At a pre-season training session for Tata Steel earlier this year, assistant coach Jagannath Behera, who has known Mukhi ‘for years’ (how many years, exactly…?) said Mukhi was ‘hard-working’ and a ‘sharp forward’.

Behera said:

He grasps goal opportunities on the field quickly and his shooting is invariably accurate. I hope he scores big in ISL.

I hope so too. But unfortunately, the 28-year-old has been suspended by the AIFF for six months for lying about his age.

Perhaps Mukhi needs to have a word with Emile Ratelband, who’s from the Netherlands.

Emile is 69 years old, though he has been told by doctors he has the body of a 45-year-old. He also doesn’t feel his 69 years, instead he identifies as 45, and even wants to change his date of birth to represent his.

The doctor’s assessment inspired the pensioner to take action against his years and launch a legal battle to change his birthday from March 11, 1949 to March 11, 1969.

Emile’s local authority refused to amend his age on official documents.

However, the young-at-heart man tried to sue them, arguing that if transgender people are allowed to change sex, he should be allowed to change his date of birth.

His case was thrown out, as there was no legal basis for the change of age. A change would amount to ‘undesirable legal and societal implications’, the judges said, the BBC report.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.