Friday, June 26, 2009

Kaduna Utd, Zamfara Utd Deny Match-fixing Claim

Kaduna United and Zamfara United have debunked claims that they fixed their Week 38 match in Gusau in the concluded season, which ended 9-0 in favour of the latter.
General Manager of Zamfara United, Shehu Gusau, told Saturday Independent during the week dismissed such claims that the two clubs stage-managed the encounter at the Sardauna Memorial Stadium.
Gusau’s position was also buttressed by the Kaduna United chairman, Sabo Babayaro.
Both men are also on the board of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL). While Gusau is the vice-chairman, Babayaro is an executive member.
The Zamfara United general manager was furious at claims that his club was involved in fixing a game, and challenged anyone with proof to submit such to the appropriate authority for the prosecution of those involved.
Gusau continued that after watching the video clip of the match between Zamfara United and Kaduna United, he is convinced that there was no foul play in the outcome of the result.
The NPL second in-command also pointed out that he was unavailable to watch the match at the Sardauna Memorial Stadium since he was away on official duty at the Oleh Township Stadium, where Bayelsa United and Warri Wolves faced each other.
“What people are saying about that score-line is not true. I can only say that if anyone has proof to say that the match was fixed, then such a person should come out and present it. Already the case is being investigated and I hope that the panel saddled with that responsibility would determine the truth of the whole matter. But I also want you to know that I was not even at the venue of that match because I was in charge of the game between Bayelsa United and Warri Wolves in Oleh.
“Since there have been so much criticism of that score-line, I requested for the video tape of that match. After watching it, I did not see any trace that the match was fixed or that the players of Kaduna United decided to allow the players of Zamfara United to beat them like that. The goalkeeper of Kaduna United got a red card and the other goalkeeper could not be dressed for that match and so a player had to take the place of a goalkeeper,” he explained.
Gusau’s submission further buttresses the earlier statement of Kaduna United head coach, Jatau Alhassan.
He was quoted by a new media outfit as saying: “Our first goalkeeper was injured 15 minutes before the game. The second one who came in suffered two rough tackles that the referee did not call. So he retaliated and got a red card. A player came in for him because we cannot abandon the match. We were under pressure and he could not cope with pressure. Ray Nnaji was the Match Assessor and he is an independent person and he can tell you that the players were the same we have been using since. We were in a situation where the other team were trying to survive at all costs and the pressure was too much for the player in goal to handle.”
But Babayaro was straight and brief in his interview with our correspondent when asked to react to the allegation levelled against his club.
“Kaduna United is a club that will not involve itself in such scandal. As a football administrator I have a name to protect. We are ready to face any summon from the panel as regards this allegation (of match-fixing),” he remarked.
The panel sitting over the issue has already summoned the first batch of the principal actors in the game between Kaduna United and Zamfara United.
Those summoned are Alhassan, Kaduna United’s two goalkeepers, Zamfara United head coach, Akwa United’s team manager as well as the match assessors, Ray Nnaji and Gambo Mamman.
The seven persons are to appear before the panel on July 1 inside the NPL board room in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

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