Gourav Mukhi set the India Super League record this year for the youngest player to score a goal in a game, but a new report found that the alleged teenage phenom was really lying about his age — by about 12 years.
Mukhi has confessed to India’s governing soccer body that he was lying about his age and that he is actually 28-years-old (with some reports pegging him at 29) instead of the 16 he had originally claimed. As Fox Sports Asia reported, the forward for Jamshedpur FC will now face a six-month suspension for his actions.
There were plenty of warning signs about Gourav Mukhi’s real age. The Telegraph of India had published a feature on Mukhi earlier this year that correctly identified him as being 28 and discussed his journey from living in the slums and working his way up through the country’s lower leagues to finally reach the Super League.
It also chronicled how Gourav Mukhi went to Spain for training with mentor Cesar Ferrando.
“Cesar was very impressed with Gouarv’s techniques and wanted to take him to Spain for exposure,” a JFC official said.
There were also JFC top brass quoted in the story, lending evidence that they would have — or should have — known his true age.
JFC CEO Mukul Chaudhari told the newspaper that they were thrilled to have “such a fine footballer” on their side. “We wanted local flavor in the side and Gourav is one. We wish him all the best,” he said.
Meet 16-year-old Gourav Mukhi, the youngest goalscorer in Indian Super League history.
Except the authorities have discovered he's actually 29, banning him for 6 months.
Which, to be fair, is the amount of time it would take a genuine 16-year-old to grow a moustache like that. pic.twitter.com/TFF2jN4Vm1
— 32Red (@32Red) December 17, 2018
This is not the first time a soccer phenom has been accused of lying about his age. In 2016, AC Milan took 19-year-old former player Yusupha Yaffa to court, claiming he was actually 28. As the Telegraph reported, the club claimed that Yaffa defrauded them and that there was evidence he was older than he claimed to be.
“As reported by La Gazetta dello Sport, the player said several times that he had lost his identification documents during the move abroad,” the report noted.
“However, Yaffa made remarks online about his education which appeared incongruous with his stated age, and several former schoolmates are said to have disputed the player’s Facebook profile.”
American phenom Freddy Adu, who made his professional debut at the age of 14, also faced accusations that he was lying about his age, though there was never any evidence to suggest he was actually older.
In India, this is not the first time that Gourav Mukhi has been in trouble for lying about his age. He had previously been pulled off the roster for an India U 16 National Camp in 2015 for being too old, Fox Sports Asia reported.