Ugandan arrested in fresh football betting scandal
Barry Silah @obel_barry
Arrest of a Ugandan national in Kisumu town on Saturday in connection with attempts to influence the outcome of a local soccer match has lifted the lid over allegations of massive match-fixing in the ongoing Kenya Premier League.
The Ugandan national, identified as Ronald Mugisha was nabbed by sleuths at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in Kisumu after attempting to influence the outcome of the KPL league match between strugglers Western Stima FC and league leaders Kenya Commercial Bank FC played at the Afraha Stadium yesterday ending 3-1 in favour of the bankers.
Mugisha and his accomplices had allegedly promised the Stima players Sh600,000 if they lost the match by a margin of 4-0 upwards.
Interestingly, the score line had been predicted by one of the local betting firm’s site although certain quarters suggest that was coincidental.
Western Stima FC management yesterday confirmed that the Ugandan national had targeted four players and the team manager promising them the Sh600,000 which they were to receive immediately after the match if they kept their part of the deal.
Mugisha, who is currently in police custody at the Kisumu Central Police Station awaiting prosecution works as an agent for Asian betting companies.
He was arrested with over Shs 71,000 in cash, said police sources.
Intelligence reports reveal that Mugisha wanted Stima to concede two goals in the first half and another two goals in the second half to enable KCB to register a 4-0 win.
Laban Jobita, the Western Stima FC chairman said he had laid a trap after sensing that his players were giving away matches.
“We lay a trap with police officers in some hotel in Kisumu and we knew what the culprit’s intentions were.
We used the players as witnesses and so that is that. I expect the players to give their best and what we want going forward is CAF or FIFA to give us direction on the matter,” he told People Daily.
“This issue happened when the players were preparing to go to camp. I had always suspected something was not right and it got me thinking fast.
I called a meeting with players prior (to the match) and warned them of consequences of getting involved with any dirty dealings and I am sure they understand.
I do not care about anything, even a loss as long as my players give their best,” he went on.
He however stated that he is not aware if at all KCB was involved in the whole occurrence.
Kakamega Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula argued that the Football Kenya Federation was either complicit or lacked capacity to deal with the grave issue.
“I have been a victim before and I know how ugly it can get. We have issues with money flow in the game and largely I blame the Federation for not being firm on the issue.
They have a weak approach which cannot solve anything thus such cases arise.
Government must also really help in curbing such because it is a growing vice,” he added.
“I expect FIFA to come in hard on this matter of Western Stima once investigations are complete. In the next one week, expect FIFA to begin dealing with the matter like they dealt with other cases before.
A lot of referees are also involved and many betting firms are said to have people friendly to them in the game. It is one huge mess and frankly it is soiling the game,” said the outspoken administrator.
Kenya has in the past borne the brunt of match fixing and suffered severe consequences.
Former Bandari, Sofapaka and Kakamega Homeboyz Coach Paul Nkata was accused of match fixing when he was at the helm of Homeboyz.
Concerns about poor pay on local players have lent credence to vulnerability as they are seen as easy targets.
Ugandan George Mandela was banned for life while Kenyan footballers Moses Chikati, Festus Okiring and Festo Omukata were handed four year bans for conspiring to fix matches while at duty with their then employers, Kakamega Homeboyz.
Ugandan Paul Nkata was the coach at Homeboyz at the period. He fled to Uganda after Shimanyula started investigations over alleged match-fixing.
A report by Calvin Ayre.com in March 2020 pointed fingers at various stakeholders including journalists, accusing them of being complicit and benefitting from the vice.
Two companies, Quantragon and Living 3D Holdings have been implicated before for their dirty involvement in match fixing in the continent with Kenya being on their radar as well.
Former Kenya international George Owino was said to have earned millions of shillings between 2009-2011 for allegedly fixing Harambee Stars matches.