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Kenyans caught up in match fixing storm

Kenyans were left in shock last week after details emerged of how some Harambee Stars players allegedly received bribes to fix matches. The report by FIFA talks of how an Asian businessman got access to the players and convinced them to fix certain matches in exchange for a quick buck. This, however, is not the first case. So which are the others?

1. George Owino

Former Harambee Stars defender George Owino was a man in the spotlight last week after reports emerged of him being accused of match-fixing. Owino is said to have earned millions between June 2009 and 2011 in a match-fixing scandal that football body Fifa is investigating at the moment.

The former Mathare United ace is said to have conspired with international match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal to manipulate and influence the results of various international matches involving Kenya.

2. Aden Marwa

Kenyan referee Aden Marwa received a life ban from football last year after he was implicated in a bribery scandal just before the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia. Marwa was filmed in a BBC expose by Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas receiving a $600 (Sh60,000) bribe in June 2018.

Anas posed as a Ghanaian football official when he approached Marwa at the 2018 Africa Nations Championship in Morocco. After the incident, Marwa, who was among 63 assistant referees slated to officiate World Cup matches in Russia, was struck off the list, meaning he lost at least Sh2.5 million for appearing at the tournament in addition to Sh200, 000 per game.

3. Kakamega Homeboyz

Just two weeks ago, local league outfit Kakamega Homeboyz sacked head coach Paul Nkata over match-fixing allegations. Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula claimed Nkata was colluding with seven players to fix matches, leading to consistent poor results. “We’ve already reported to the police with recorded evidence and written to the federation over the same.

He (Nkata) has been using one of the players to influence the other six with a figure between Sh50,000 and Sh200,000 per game,” said Shimanyula, who claimed some of the “fixed” matches included those played on January 2 and 19 against Sony Sugar and Mathare United which they lost 2-1 and 3-2 respectively.

4. Kenya vs Lesotho -2014

In August 2014, Football Kenya Federation unveiled a seven-man committee to investigate whether the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Kenya and Lesotho was fixed or sabotaged. The committee was to be chaired by Prof Moni Wekesa with the late James Siang’a, Bob Oyugi, John Ngururi, JJ Masiga, Gladys Waweru and lawyer Fred Ashimosi as members.

Kenya lost the match 1-0 on aggregate and subsequently failed to qualify for the continental tournament in Equatorial Guinea. However, the committee never sat to deliberate on the issue due to a lack of funds.

5. Maurice Odumbe

Former Kenya captain Maurice Odumbe had a high-flying cricket career until everything went south in 2004. Odumbe was banned for five years by the Kenyan Cricket Association, after being found guilty of receiving money from bookmakers on several occasions.

Justice Ahmed Ebrahim, the former judge who headed the enquiry, found Odumbe guilty on 12 counts, including accepting US$5,000 (Sh500,000) for “fixing a match in Zimbabwe”. Odumbe was 35 then, and the decision effectively ended his career. He has, however, maintained his innocence. 

6. Unnamed Kenyan cricketer

Although mystery still surrounds the identity of the player. A Kenyan cricketer was in 2012 investigated by International Cricket Council (ICC) for alleged match-fixing during the 2011 Cricket World Cup where he allegedly approached players from the opposing teams.

At a press conference, then Cricket Kenya CEO Tom Sears revealed that a former cricketer was being investigated by the ICC for interfering with matches in which Kenya was not involved. The issue took another twist when then CK chair Samir Inamdar was quoted in a local daily admitting he was aware of the ICC inquiry but that it had been called off due to lack of evidence.

7. Willis Ochieng’

In 2011, a Finnish club said a former goalkeeper allegedly accepted bribes, the 12th player suspected of involvement in match-fixing in the Nordic country’s football league. IFK Mariehamn manager Peter Mattson said Willis Ochieng’ was suspected of taking $70,500 (Sh7 million) in bribes in connection with two away games the club lost in September and October 2010.

Police said the match-fixing was connected to Wilson Raj Perumal (the same man accused in the George Owino scandal), a Singaporean suspected of bribing players in the Finnish league between 2008 and 2011. Ochieng’ denied the claims.

8. Mumias Sugar FC

Before the new millennium, match-fixing in Kenyan football was a high stakes affair. In 1999, champions Mumias Sugar, now defunct, were almost expelled from the game. This followed revelations that some of its players and officials bribed Kisumu All Stars with Sh40,000 to let in the 10 goals that won Mumias the Premier League title that year.

Mumias needed a 7-0 victory to beat rivals Tusker to the crown and they romped home with a stunning 10-0 win. Their celebrations had not ended before All Stars officials and players let the cat out of the bag, confessing to having received Sh40,000 to fix the match.

9. Leopards 3-2 Gor (June 1986)

Gor Mahia took a 2-0 first half lead courtesy of winger Sammy Onyango “Jogoo” but AFC Leopards came back strongly in the second half to grab three quick goals and send their fans into frenzy. Gor took the defeat so badly that an inquest was formed to investigate circumstances under which they lost.

Claims of match-fixing were not far off with a former Leopards chairman being accused of having compromised some Gor players. After the inquest, two Gor players were suspended for allegedly selling off the match though some claimed “witchcraft” had played a role in their defeat.

10. Alfred Sambu

One of the most memorable events in the history of Kenyan football was the 1987 encounter pitting the then Kenyan champions AFC Leopards against Egyptian giants Al Ahly. Playing the first leg in front of an intimidating crowd of 100,000 rabid fans, Ingwe were 4-0 down at half-time and Al Ahly went on to win the game 6-0.

However in the second leg, Leopards won 2-1 on a rain-soaked Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega, the final aggregate score being 7-2 in favour of the Egyptians. After the game, the Zimbabwean referee accused Leopards chairman Alfred Sambu of having tried to bribe him. The matter was reported to CAF and Sambu was suspended for two years.

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