By Usman Salifu, Abuja
Former chairman of Gombe State Football and Nigeria’s foremost sports critic, Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe has hinted that the alleged match-fixing in the domestic football leagues would become worse, unless the new culture of betting in the nation’s football gets another look from the appropriate authorities.
Gombe, who was reacting to the recent incident in Gombe, where fans of Gombe United FC attacked and almost killed their goalkeeper, Emmanuel Fabiyi, for alleged match-fixing after a 3-3 home draw against Enugu Rangers, said the arrival of betting in the domestic football scene had gradually turned the country’s sport scene violent, especially in football and raised the bar on corruption.
Fabiyi, who LEADERSHIP Sport understood was recuperating in Jos, was mercilessly beaten by Gombe United fans, after they accused him of selling the game to Rangers.
“I was curious about the matter. When I got to Gombe over the weekend, I conducted an investigation. Some fans came to me and narrated what they know about the issue,” Gara Gombe wrote on his official Facebook account.
“I kept on saying that the arrival of betting in our football is gradually turning us into a more violent country. It has raised the bar too on corruption. Many are involved. It is becoming a syndicated betting ring like in India. People now determine the outcome of matches. Violence and hooliganism is now the order of the day.
“Fabiyi had predicted on Bet9ja that the match would end in a draw a day before the game. He was seen with a Rangers official the night before the game and, also, sent a text message to the club chairman. He pledged that if allowed to be in goal in that match he would play as if it would be his last.
“Of course, all accusations pointed at a direction and the goalkeeper is a regular visitor to the Bet9ja platform. One of his friends even confirmed that he predicted Real Madrid would lose to Atletico Madrid.
“In this connection, therefore, the football authorities must discretely investigate the matter and be just in their conclusions,” he stated.