As I have written in previous posts, I travel to Uganda frequently. In Africa, soccer (or as they call it . . . football) is king. I’ve never seen any evidence of baseball. So the following article intrigued me:
A youth baseball team from Uganda has lost its bid to become the first team from Africa to play in the Little League World Series because of discrepancies over players’ ages and birth dates.
League and team officials did everything possible to ensure players on the Rev. John Foundation team from Kampala were qualified and had documentation, a league representative, Richard Stanley of New York City, told The Associated Press on Friday. Children who are 11 or 12 as of April 30 can play in the World Series, which is held each August in South Williamsport, Pa.
Stanley is credited by Little League with introducing and establishing the organization in Uganda after building a baseball academy several years ago. He said Friday issues arose when ages and birth dates listed on documentation didn’t match those offered by parents, guardians or the players themselves during interviews with U.S. consular officials at the U.S. embassy in Kampala.
Several players provided false birth documents to make their ages appear younger, said a State Department official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity because visa records are confidential.
Until now, the Ugandan team’s success was considered a home run for Little League and baseball’s international growth. The team would have been the first squad from Africa to play in the 65-year history of the World Series.
Stanley said birth records in Uganda are not strictly tracked, as in the United States.