Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How Kenyan footballers are making Millions through illegal Match Fixing

Over the past few years, the Kenyan football arena has been awash with discussions about match-fixing, especially in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) and the National Super League (NSL).

Locally, match fixing is widespread and is no longer a secret. This organized crime involves local criminals and their counterparts in Asia and other parts of the world.

Reported cases of match-fixing on Kenyan soil have escalated since the 2010 Worldcup Qualification match pitting Kenya vs. Nigeria that was staged at the Kasarani stadium.

Wilson Raj Perumal, regarded as the world’s most prolific match-fixer in football’ claimed to have helped the Super Eagles win the final qualifying group.

In his confession, Perumal, who was sentenced over match-fixing allegations, claimed to have given a certain amount of money amounting to millions to three Kenya players who he was sure would be included in the first 11. The players aimed to ensure Nigeria emerged as the winner that would aid their World Cup qualification.

Nine years after the match, Fifa banned former Kenyan international George Owino Audi a 10-year ban after he was found guilty of match-fixing.

According to a statement from the global football body, the Ex-Harambee Stars defender was set to pay a fine of CHF 15,000 (approximately $14,700).

“Moreover, the Kenyan player Mr. George Owino Audi has been banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at both national and international level (administrative, sports or any other) for ten (10) years,” read part of the statement.

World football governing body Fifa launched investigations against Audi, who is said to have been paid millions of shillings to throw away the Kenya national team’s match against Nigeria.

Years later, an alleged match-fixing scandal hit the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), with Zoo FC being the latest side believed to suffer the vice. FIFA ordered that Zoo Kericho football club be relegated two divisions down after two former players were linked to a match-fixing scandal.

The FIFA probe gravely mentioned Michael Madoya, the 2018 Kenyan Premier League Most Valuable Player, and Danson Chetambe.

FIFA also cited Zoo matches against Wazito and Sofapaka as some of the games that could have been manipulated.

In February 2020, FIFA Disciplinary Committee handed three former Kakamega Homeboyz players a four-year ban over a match-fixing allegation where they are reported to have received millions to alter their team’s results.

The four include Moses Chikati Festus Okiring, who left Homeboyz for Ulinzi Stars, and Festo Omukoto, alongside Ugandan international and ex-Kakamega Homeboyz player George Mandela, who was handed a life ban from all football-related activities.

In January 2021, Police nabbed a Ugandan national, Fred Ronald Niwagira Mwine, in a Kisumu hotel, for purportedly attempting to bribe players to influence the outcome of a Football Kenya Federation Premier League fixture between Western Stima and KCB at Nakuru Afraha Stadium.

According to reports, Mwine had already placed Sh70,000 on the table as a down payment in an enticing deal that could have seen the team manager, four defenders and a goalkeeper ultimately share a whopping Sh600,000 among themselves if the deal had gone through.

Western Stima chairman Laban Jobita blew the whistle on the vice after laying a trap and eavesdropping on their conversation. The incident only serves to give credence to speculations that match-fixing abounds in the country.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has since suspended 14 players and two coaches for match-fixing after receiving a tip-off about cheating in the national league.

Among those suspended were six players from Zoo Kericho FC, which was found guilty of match-fixing by FIFA’s integrity unit in 2021 and expelled from the Kenyan Premier League.
Tusker defender Isaac Kipyegon tops the list of those suspended.

Others are; Mike Madoya, Kericho FC head coach Du Monde Selenga Mangili, and former goalie and goalkeeper trainer Willis Ochieng’.

Sammy Sindani, Akiya Munyasa, and William Odunga(all of Silibwet Leons) are also on the list, and so are Hamidu Kwizera Lucas, Vincent Misikhu, John Ligare, Geoffrey Gichana, Daniel Kiptoo and Brian Lumumba.

Also on the list of shame are Dennis Monda, and Dominic Ouma.

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