Blatant Case of Match Fixing in Nigeria Football Leagues
Match fixing is a common term used in sporting world. As popular as the unholy term may seems, it has send many players, coaches, staff and probably clubs folding or rather puts it, has ended the careers of many.While growing up, l could remember arguing had on the impossibly of match fixing with the younger ones who had heard or read a case of match fixing. But hey, how the hell can a team decide to lose against an opponent when they are being paid for or playing for glory? How can a central referee be in a match and not see a case of match fixing? That were the bases of my argument.
Be it as it may, fast forward to 2013 in of the Nigeria low divisional leagues. I read a blatant case of match fixing and couldn’t decipher the rational behind the whole event and my past ignorance. If match fixing existed, l never read about it or being told. I was just about 15 years of age.
It was a case of battle for survival between Plateau United and Police Machine in Nigeria low football division. Both teams were about to be relegated from the league competition and were on the same point level. Any of the two team that could emerge victorious in their last game or come out with superior goal different will escape being relegated. So, the match was set for the date between Plateau United Founders vs Akurba FC and Police Machine FC vs Bubayaro FC.
Due to the fact that it was not a televised or video match, not much could be said on how the game proceeded minute by minute but by the end of the first 45 minutes Plateau United were 7-0 up, while Police Machine counterpart were leading by 6 goals to nil. I believe like every other last game of the season as we see in the English premier league, teams tend to follow up events of other matches either by news or may be planting a spy: not such but l think this must have been a case between Plateau United and Police Machine. Both clubs must have planted paid spy for information as there was not media coverage for both matches.
However according to investigation, after both teams first half results were communicated to each other, the opponent teams of both Plateau United and Police Machine began to put the ball at the back of their own net until the goal count went up as high as 79-0 and 67-0 at full time respectively which eventually gave Plateau United promotion. Come to think of it how team could manage 79 goals in a match with 90 minutes of football play. I mean for every goal score, there must be a pass at the center of the pitch and the referee just sat back and watched such rape go on in the beautiful game.
With such score line and drama, the media attention were drawn to the games likewise the league football governing body NFF picked keen interest to get to the bottom of the scenario. At the end of investigation and it was found out that both clubs have paid their opponents to give them free hands in the match. NFF finally handed the four clubs involved a 10 year ban as well life ban in all football related activities for both players, staff and officials of that bizarre match. Now a crop of players and staff has just not only tarnished their image but have lost their source of livelihood and life passion. There are meant not to come close to the round leather game forever any professional guise which is a big shame.
Though match fixing span across leagues in different forms especially in low division games as match prediction sites have tactically made us understood but the way the fraud is being perpetrated still amazes me. Does it mean the whole team agrees to the deal or the referee and the teams involved struck a deal or rather puts it, the stickers who missed unimaginable goal scoring opportunities are the main culprit?….“There are many shortcuts to failure, but there are no shortcuts to true success.
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