In Summary
  • Players will sense when they are being lured into a trap which will ruin their careers.
  • By so doing, when claims of match fixing arise, we will not be pointing fingers at clueless lads but at people who are knowledgeable of right from wrong. We must change our approach.

In the past week, there has been a flurry of accusations and counter accusations over the banning of Kenyan Premier League players implicated in match fixing scandals.

The issue of match fixing had dragged on for far too long since Kakamega Homeboyz owner Cleophas Shimanyula blew the whistle.

We had protested about the issue in this column from the time the allegations were made. Football stakeholders also spoke out against the vice in other forums, but the Kenyan Premier League managers didn’t take the complaints seriously. All we heard was… they were investigating.

Well, the world football governing body Fifa jumped into action and probed the claims. It found substance in Shimanyula’s report.

Consequently, four footballers found themselves in big trouble. They are Ugandan player George Mandela who was handed a lifetime ban from all football-related activities. Three other players, Moses Chikati, Festus Okiring and Festo Omukoto got off with a four-year ban from football.

It is easy to shoo off these lads and brand them “silly demons” who did not think about the consequences of their actions.

The pittance they received, to say the least, is annoying, moralists may be quick to think. Two questions come to mind. Did these players know the hole they were digging themselves into?

Did they ponder the price they would pay? Well, from the look of things, they seemed not to have weighed the gravity of their actions. But ignorance is no defence.

Our players don’t know what is really going on. They have never been trained to know.

This is where the Kenyan Football Federation and the Kenyan Premier League officials should step in. Match fixing should be nipped in the bud before the problem escalates.

In athletics, allegations were made of a top runner taking to his heels and jumping over a fence to dodge anti-doping officials.

That paints a bud picture of a nation that has over the years been an envy of the world for being an athletics powerhouse. There are athletes who’ve doped without their knowledge and ended up in depression when they failed dope tests.

It is the same issue with our football players. They are paid peanuts, and irregularly for that matter. They are vulnerable and opt to be used by betting companies to do their bidding. They do not have proper information on the dos and don’ts!

It must be said that the players have being victimised. I insist on this because all they do is play, get paid and go home. No training on rules and ethics.

Another case in point is that of celebrated Kenyan cricket player Maurice Odumbe who fell from grace to grass. He was our star until the time he was charged with fixing matches.

Football is big business the world over and bookies are trying to get money out of it. The result is match fixing, and we are losing our children to it.

We must set up rules and regulations on this vice and ensure all players, coaches, club support staff and match officials are trained and given exams to sit and get certificates for the same.

Players will sense when they are being lured into a trap which will ruin their careers.

By so doing, when claims of match fixing arise, we will not be pointing fingers at clueless lads but at people who are knowledgeable of right from wrong. We must change our approach.

mojuang@gmail.com