Integrity is a key component of any forward thinking organization without which, every positive effort put in place to bring about development will be built on quick sand.
The sports sector is no exception.
For starters, this is a very important sector that has transformed to a multibillion dollar industry and there is thus every reason to jealously guard it.
Kenyan football has in recent times been marred by allegations of match manipulation.
This has brought questions on the integrity of the game. These doubts need to be put to rest as soon as possible.
Match manipulation, commonly known in Kenyan circles as match fixing is, just like doping in athletics, reported to be rife in both the Football Kenya Premier League (FKF-PL) and National Super League (NSL), the two top football leagues in Kenya.
Match fixing can bring football in this country to its knees and the sooner this vice is curbed, the better for the good of our game.
Match-fixing is when a game is manipulated to produce a desired outcome.
To tame the device, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has been conducting workshops for players, club officials, match officials and other stakeholders to recognize instances of match-fixing, resisting the attempt and how to report suspicious activities to the Federation and FIFA.
The effects of match fixing have been there for all to see.
Days to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Nelson Marwa, arguably Kenya’s best referee at the time, was banned from officiating at the tournament amid revelations he had accepted a Kshs 50,000 ‘gift’.
In the last one year, Kenyan football has been hit by a lot of issues with match manipulation in the top leagues.
In 2021, Fifa sanctioned Zoo Kericho, a top flight club at the time, and relegated it to the third tier league after it was found that some of the players have been involved in match fixing.
A year earlier, four Kakamega Homeboyz players namely Festo Omukoto, George Mandela, Festus Okiring and Moses Chikati were slapped with upto four year bans over match fixing allegations.
The FKF Caretaker committee and later transition committee which managed Kenyan football in 2022, ran leagues amid serious match fixing allegations.
Thus, FKF has put much focus on eliminating the vice.
The Federation has an identification and reporting mechanisms for match-fixing through the FIFA the FKF Integrity Portal [email protected]/integrity, and the FKF Integrity Hotline number +254 790115228.
FKF is also in the process of creating a user-friendly mobile app where whistle-blowers will be able to report match-fixing instances and allegations.
The increase in the tempo to tame the runaway vice before things get out of hand, has FIFA and FKF’s continuously ask football players and officials to Recognize, Resist and Report, any suspicious activities that borders match manipulations.
Just recently, the Federation took over 80 match commissioners, assessors, and referees through football integrity sessions under the tutelage of the Head of Integrity at Football Kenya Federation Mr. Mike Kamure.
They were taken through the effects of the worldwide vice of match-fixing and how to help curb it and preserve football’s integrity.
Teams and officials are also being taught how to recognize, resist and report suspicious incidents.
The Federation has taken deliberate steps to conduct these sessions with the key stakeholders in football to create an awareness campaign against the worldwide vice that is match-manipulation and how to help curb it and preserve football’s integrity.
Let us not let a few greedy people in the game to completely kill the game and make others suffer by joining hands to ensure that manipulation in football is completely eradicated and football maintains integrity.
Kenn Okaka is The Media and Communications officer at Football Kenya Federation