Choppa Mboweni of South Africa. © Chris Ricco/Backpagepix

The Premier Soccer League have cleared Walter Maponyane to play for Mamelodi Sundowns, even though the defender has played internationally under a different identity, and was kicked out of the BIDVest Wits academy for age-cheating.

Those watching Maponyane come off the bench to make his debut for the Brazilians in the Nedbank Cup hammering of Powerlines on Sunday may have recognised him as Choppa Mboweni, who made a few appearances for Amajita in 2009 and 2010.

Choppa Mboweni was allegedly born on October 14, 1990, but when he joined the Wits academy in 2009, the club, suspicious of his age, asked South African Home Affairs to investigate.

When it became clear that Mboweni did not have the correct credentials, Wits suspended the player, and, according to coach Roger De Sa, told the South African Football Association (Safa), who had already called him up to the Amajita squad.

“We suspected he was over-age, investigated it with home affairs and they told us the documents were false,” said De Sa yesterday. “We suspended him and informed Safa, but they still called him up again.”

The situation of age-cheating at Wits was so serious, in fact, that they ended up scrapping their entire Under-19 side in 2009.

“We changed to Under-17s after that,” added De Sa.

The coach of the Wits Under-19 side at the time, Floyd Mogale, was also suspended. Mogale, who now coaches Sundowns’ development side, yesterday refused to comment on the matter.

Mboweni has now been registered to play at Sundowns, but under a different name – Walter Maponyane – and with a new date of birth, November 27, 1987.

This new identity, it seems, has been accepted by Home Affairs, with the PSL confirming that they have received the necessary documentation, including an affidavit from his mother.

The PSL also confirmed that they have a clearance letter for Maponyane from Vodacom League side M Tigers, who they have accepted as his previous club.

Wits, however, claim they are still holding on to Chippa Mboweni’s clearance. “We never issued a clearance for him,” said De Sa. Of perhaps more concern, Maponyane’s new age (24), proves that he was clearly over-age when he made his appearances for Amajita.

Safa Under-20 coach at the time, Serame Letsoaka, could not be reached for comment yesterday. – The Star