• In an astonishing statement last Friday, the Football Kenya Federation announced that it had suspended 12 players and three coaches from various clubs who are under investigation for match-fixing.
• We must now keep our eyes peeled to avoid any further calamity. Everyone found guilty of indulging in the disgraceful crimes of match-fixing must be dealt with appropriately.
It is wonderful to see that authorities are taking courageous actions to purge the rot from Kenyan football.
In an astonishing statement last Friday, the Football Kenya Federation announced that it had suspended 12 players and three coaches from various clubs who are under investigation for match-fixing.
It’s erstwhile Kenyan Premier League club, Zoo Kericho, who have been hardest hit with six former players making the list of shame.
The list released by FKF includes Willis Ochieng (Coach-Zetech University), Hamidu Kwizera Lucas (former player Zoo FC), Vincent Misikhu (former player Zoo FC), Sammy Sabiri (Silibwet Leons FC), Michael Madoya (former player Nairobi City Stars) and Johnstone Ligare (former player Zoo FC).
Others are Geoffrey Gichana (Zoo FC), Dominic Ouma Okoth (Kericho Rovers FC), Isaac Kipyegon (Tusker FC), Stanislausus Akiya Munyasa (Silibwet Leons FC), William Odunga (Silibwet Leons), Daniel Kiptoo (former player Zoo FC) and Brian Lumumba (Zoo FC).
Monde Selenga Mangili (head coach of Kericho FC) and Dennis Monda (former Vihiga United Player) are also under scrutiny.
As a result, the local governing body has instructed all of its affiliate members to refrain from any sort of connection with the individuals during their suspension.
FKF said the move is meant to protect the integrity of the league, in line with their zero-tolerance policy for match-fixing.
Even though Kenya has occasionally been involved in match-fixing, the vice never appeared to be as pervasive as it is now.
Warning signs that Fifa was hot on the trail of the offenders began to emerge in 2021 when FKF received a stinging statement from the world football governing body, bringing to their attention the prevalence of the vice in the country.
Zoo Kericho was ejected from the nation’s top-flight as a direct result of Fifa’s strict action.
In April 2021, Fifa relegated the Kericho-based club to the third-tier league after being found culpable of match-fixing.
The Geneva-based organisation claimed that several matches believed to have been rigged between 2018 and 2020 by club members led to the decision to penalise Zoo FC. As a result, the club was made accountable for the actions of its members.
Fifa also fined Zoo a hefty Sh6 million for not completely abiding by an earlier ruling.
This is because, for the 2021/22 season, the team ended up competing in the National Super League rather than the Division One as instructed — a circumstance that Fifa attributed to an improper execution of its decision.
We appreciate FKF’s decisive move to save our football from unscrupulous people who want to harvest what they have not planted.
Kenya is still smarting from a Fifa ban that was lifted only recently after being locked out from the international stage for an entire year.
We must now keep our eyes peeled to avoid any further calamity. Everyone found guilty of indulging in the disgraceful crimes of match-fixing must be dealt with appropriately.
FKF must ensure a level playing field throughout the competition and at no time should any team be allowed to load the dice against the other. Due to significant anti-doping infractions, Kenya narrowly avoided being banned from athletics and we are not prepared to make another rod for our own back by supporting match-fixing.