Match manipulation is no longer a taboo topic discussed only in hushed tones like in the past, it is here with us and the big brother, Fifa has taken notice.
“A year ago, I said match fixing was big problem in Kenya and even offered a reward for information, but I got attacked and laughed at. Today I applaud Fifa and Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) for their efforts,” tweeted Wazito FC boss, Ricardo Badoer.
Badoer was referring to the latest Fifa action against the vice in which the global football body relegated Zoo FC to the FKF Division One league for engaging in match manipulation.
Ironically, one of the matches Zoo FC came under probe was against Wazito FC.
In the game played at the Machakos Stadium in the 2019-20 Kenyan Premier League round of 23, five suspicious goals were scored with Wazito emerging 4-1 victors.
Zoo have vowed to appeal the ban.
In 2020, Fifa banned four former Kakamega Homeboyz players for four years each for engaging in match fixing.
The four – Moses Chikati, Festus Okiring, Festo Omukoto and Ugandan George Mandela have quietly exited the scene without a fight back.
Before the ban, the club’s president Moses Shimanyula sensationally claimed some of his players, working with Ugandan coach Paul Nkata, were intentionally throwing away games.
“We thought the poor run was just a normal one but we found out that our coach (Paul Nkata) has been placing bets on games.”
Nkata escaped the Fifa wrath.
In 2019, former Mathare United and Harambee Stars defender George Owino was given a ten-year ban and fined about Ksh 2 million for match manipulation.
Fifa stated that while working in conjunction with renowned former international match fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal, Owino helped manipulate 14 games involving the Harambee Stars.
Owino pleaded his innocence and vowed to appeal the ban, but nothing has transpired to date.