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Sunday, January 27, 2008
Namibian officials confirm match-fixing offer

The president of the Namibian Football Association has confirmed several of the team's players were offered money to throw their match against Guinea at the African Nations Cup.

John Muinjo claims players were offered 15,000 each by a syndicate to lose their final group game in the tournament, which takes place in Sekondi on Monday. Half of the money was to be paid up front and half when the match had been fixed.

Muinjo referred the matter to the Confederation of African Football, who have reportedly opened an investigation.

It is the second match-fixing claim to hit the tournament after Benin coach Reinhard Fabisch revealed on Thursday he was approached by a man with a similar offer before his side's game against Mali.

'It was not only one player that was approached, but it was many players that this individual came up to at different times saying he represented a syndicate and asking if they can throw the match against Guinea,' Muinjo told PA Sport.

'These players then came up to us as members of their management reporting the matter to us.

'We had a meeting amongst us and then contacted CAF explaining to them what had happened. They sent someone over to the hotel to speak to the players and question them about the issue and the representative then left.'

Muinjo believes his country's players could have been targeted because they are one of the less-fancied teams in the competition.

Namibia have never reached the knockout stages of the event and lost their opening game of the current tournament 5-1 to Morocco.

Muinjo added: 'It could be the case because they may think we are vulnerable and because they feel we are easy targets.

'The players from Namibia, a lot of them are semi-professional, so again these people don't realise that a lot of players are playing for pride and they won't even consider getting involved in this.

'The one thing that was good is the reaction of our players in the situation. They were very honest to come to the association and tell us immediately of the incidents.'

Muinjo also fears these incidents are far from isolated.

He said: 'I think these things are widespread in football and these things are happening especially in tournaments like this.

'They may feel that African players can be targeted and are more vulnerable, but they are really trying their luck with us.

'As custodians of football we must try our utmost to curb these things at all times. When it comes down to it, players must know the seriousness of the situation.

'But again, we as Africans have to at all times enhance the professionalism of the sport on the continent and not let people come in and take advantage.'




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