Match Fixing: FKF must act now or else…

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Thursday, February 6th 2020 at 06:00 GMT +3 | Football
City Stars FC's Festo Omukoto, left, and David Ojwang of Chemelil Sugar FC in the Kenya Premier League match at Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday, August 3, 2016. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Football Kenya Federation must do more to clean up the Kenyan game than just being dismissive in spite of serious integrity issues afflicting local leagues according to Kakamega Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula.

This comes in the wake of four-year bans Fifa imposed on three players; Festo Omukoto, Festus Okiring, and Moses Chikati and Ugandan George Mandela, who was handed a life ban from all football-related activities.  All four players were playing for Kakamega Homeboyz at the time. 

In January last year, Shimanyula raised the red-flag on the vice at the club that saw him sack his then Ugandan coach Paul Nkata and assistant Hamza Kalanzi as well as Mandela.

A year later, through its Integrity Department, Fifa found the players guilty of being involved in match manipulation, which violates art. 69 par. 1 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code (Unlawfully influencing match results).

Omukuto recently joined Western Stima in the January transfer window, Okiring was recruited in the army, while Chikati hasn’t been playing since the allegations.

According to Shimanyula, Fifa’s findings and subsequent bans handed to players on Tuesday vindicates his claims.

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Nzoia Sugar FC's Festus Okiring is penalised by center referee Lukas Odhiambo in a 2-1 loss KPL match against Mathare United FC at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County on Sunday, Feb 11, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

“I honestly sympathise with these players, but disappointed with the way FKF were dismissive. When I raised the alarm last year, FKF ignored me claiming that there was no match-fixing in Kenya.

“Surely, I am not a mad man to make come up such grave allegations. I’m glad, however, that Fifa’s investigations have proved that I was right. Fifa officials came here and carried out the investigations independently,” Shimanyula told Standard Sports.

“Yes, I think this should be a lesson to others intending to do the same. We are still waiting for Fifa’s disciplinary action on the two masterminds - our former coaches (Nkata and Kalanzi).

He added: “From my own investigations, expect more casualties in this syndicate in the coming few months. I think Fifa has got more credible evidence in terms of communication between the banned players and other clubs, including coaches.”

An FKF official who did not wish to be quoted refuted Shimanyula’s claims saying they co-operated with Fifa.

“We facilitated the investigations. When Fifa came here, we called the players and the whole process was conducted at Kandanda House,” the source said.

This comes barely a year after the Zurich-based body banned former Kenyan international George ‘Wise’ Owino from all football related activities for ten years and also slapped him with a Sh1.5 million fine over the same.

The latest Fifa whip will further put pressure on the beleaguered FKF hierarchy who are at the centre of election storm, having been accused of trying to manipulate the process in order to extend their stay.

 

What the coaches said

 “This is a bad picture for Kenyan football. And if indeed it is happening in other clubs, other chairmen should come out and support what Shimanyula has done. A month back, another chairman also complained about the same vice. So, this is something that is happening in the league and should be fought from all quarters including us (coaches). Apart from match-fixing, we are fighting many other vices like betting. I’ve come to realise that some of our players are betting. We need to educate our players and everybody else involved. The federation should also investigate the referees because some of their decisions have been very suspicious.” Sammy Omollo, Posta Rangers coach

 

“There is more than meets the eye in the whole match-fixing scheme. These players didn’t do it alone. I believe the players were just used as middlemen and therefore we must find their sources. All culprits must be brought to book.” Twahir Muhiddin, Bandari coach 

 

“I pity the affected players because their careers are literally over and nobody in football would like to associate with them. But we should try our best and educate the players against match-fixing and betting.” John Barasa, Sofapaka coach

 

“I fully support Fifa’s decision although I feel it was a linient penalty. All of them should have been banned for life. This is an eye-opener to our football.  I’ve been talking about this vice on my social media pages, but nobody took an interest.” Boniface Ambani, former Harambee Stars striker

 

Banned players

George Mandela (Ugandan)-Banned for life from all football-related activities.

Festo Omukoto (Kenyan)-Banned for four years from all football-related activities

Festus Okiring (Kenyan)-Banned for four years from all football-related activities.

Moses Chikati (Kenyan)-Banned for four years from all football-related activities.

Awaiting verdict

Paul Nkata: Former Kakamega Homeboyz, Bandari, Tusker and Muhoroni Youth coach

Hamza Kalanzi: Former Kakamega Homeboyz assistant coach

 

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