Just like doping, match-fixing yields winners in sports unfairly. Both deprive sports of genuine competition and amount to cheating.
This is why the move by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to ban 15 players and coaches over match-fixing is commendable.
Acting on confidential reports, FKF General Secretary Barry Otieno suspended the 15 on January 13 to allow joint investigations by the federation and world football governing body Fifa.
While the affected players and coaches remain innocent until proven guilty, we urge FKF’s Integrity Department and Fifa to speed up the investigations and to dispense justice.
Just like doping, match-fixing is eating up Kenyan sports like a cancerous wound. While it is encouraging that FKF is finally addressing the matter, the officials must stamp out the vice.
A keen look at match results in Kenyan football reveals a questionable trend. Some players, coaches and even entire teams appear to engage in questionable conduct to yield pre-determined results in matches for personal gain. It isn’t the first time local players are being reprimanded for match-fixing.
In February 2020, Fifa banned former Kakamega Homeboyz player George Mandela for life over match-fixing while Moses Chikati, Festus Okiring and Festo Omukoto got four-year bans.
But as FKF and Fifa investigate the allegations of match-fixing, they should also focus on referees. Some referees have made very questionable decisions in the FKF Premier League or National Super League matches.
That said, the federation should look into the welfare of referees. A referee who has gone for two months without pay is vulnerable to match fixers’ snares.
Seek a sustainable solution to match-fixing for sport’s sake.