Is KPL match fixing a reality?

Is KPL match fixing a reality?

The Kenya Premier League has been in the focus in recent years over match fixing. But not on such a large scale as the last two years. It is definitely something that should worry us … all of us football lovers. Fifa has banned at least four players and has summoned others (as well as some officials) as investigations into the menace continue.

Some players who turn out for Kakamega Homeboyz were given varying punishments after being found guilty of match-fixing. They are Festus Okiring, Moses Chikati, Festo Omukoto and George Mandela. The first three were banned from all football related activities for four-years while Mandela was banned for life.

Apart from Homeboyz, the other club under scrutiny by Fifa is Kericho based Zoo FC. It’s owner and other officials, both current and former, have already received summons to appear before the Fifa Integrity Unit for investigative interviews this coming week.

Zoo’s former players scheduled to appear are Vincent Misikhu, Sammy Sindani, Johnstone Ligare and Martin Elungat. Club owner Ken Ochieng’, current coach Herman Iswekha and former coach Sammy Ooth will also appear.

A short history of match fixing in Kenya

The most infamous match-fixing instance in the Kenya Premier League was experienced in 1999 when the now defunct Mumias Sugar FC played Kisumu All Stars in their final league match. Mumias Sugar and Tusker FC were tied on points but Tusker had a better goal difference as the race for the title went to the wire. Mumias Sugar FC needed to win with at least 7 – 0 against Kisumu All Stars in their last match. Mumias Sugar won the match 10 – 0 in one of the most dramatic games in KPL. It later emerged the match had been rigged. Kisumu All Stars had sold the match for a paltry KES 40,000!

Most recently, former Harambee Stars defender George Owino was found guilty of match-fixing in 2019 and banned for 10 years in addition to fines worth more than KES 2 million. He was found to be working in cahoots with international match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal.

The Daily Nation has carried out some investigations since 2019 on the same and it appears the scandal has more smoke and fire. Owino is said to have introduced another match-fixing Hungarian suspect Mark Danyi to Zoo FC owner in what was supposed to be a deal to buy the club. The deal fell through after it emerged Danyi was doing the deal with a fictitious sports company that was registered nowhere.