Tuesday August 14 2007

22 goals latest in long history of league scandal

By By Hassan Badru Zziwa

Were the record 22 goals which SC Villa pumped into the net of Akol genuine, or part of a nasty scandal? Is our game going to the dogs? Hassan Badru Zziwa ponders.

Express FC boasts of some of the earliest documented records in Uganda football. The Red Eagles once walloped Kitegombwa 17-0 in the Kampala District League. They hammered Luo Union 15-0 and later trounced Bayinda 14-0, a total of 46 goals in three matches in 1960.

When the National Football League started in 1968, it took Express one year to set the first league record. This time, they beat Kilembe 14-0. This warranted Express to charter a flight to Kilembe for the second round match, which they lost 0-1.

But all that is history after SC Villa's 22 goals against Akol.

Villa Vs Akol

In order to overcome closest challenger Express in the title chase, either by accident, coincidence or design, SC Villa scored 22 goals.

This has reduced the pressure on the Villa Park side after they realised that the league was destined for a photo finish and superior goal difference might be a deciding factor.

Although SC Villa had a 7-goal advantage on Express before the Akol game, they had played two more matches than their rivals. And there had been talk that Express were also doing their groundwork to overtake Villa.

It cannot be said that Villa's 22-goal spree was entirely free from 'strings', unless the matter is fully investigated.

This was evident in the drama which preceded the Namboole match. Akol players claimed that they had been given instructions from the Fufa President not to honour the match in order to deny the Jogoos a feast of goals.

According to the driver of the Fufa van which brought the team to Kampala, some players jumped off at Bwaise and vanished. The group which vanished alleged that their colleagues were given money by Dan Obote, a Villa player, before they travelled to Kampala to throw away the match.

Whatever happened constitutes a case which Fufa should investigate, if only to vindicate all parties involved in this scam and put the hearts of Ugandan soccer enthusiasts at peace.

Previous scandals
KCC Vs UCB

With KCC leading the 1981 league, the Lugogo side only had Uganda Commercial Bank as the stumbling block between them and a third title.

The two teams sealed a 'syndicate', so that KCC could comfortably take the league title. UCB conceded a walkover.

In return KCC, stepped out of the way for UCB in the semi-finals of the Uganda (Kakungulu) Cup.

In a rare twist of poetic justice, however, UCB lost the Uganda Cup final to Coffee in a penalty shootout!

Nsambya Vs Wembley

A major match fixing scandal first broke out in September 1984. Nsambya FC lined up against Wembley with the task of winning their three remaining matches so as to catch up with Cooperative who had concluded their fixtures with 48 points and 66 goals.

In order to overtake Cooperative on goal difference, Nsambya had to score 20 goals in the three matches.

Nsambya earned 18 of the 20 goals they needed in the match against Wembley, living them with the comparatively easy job of scooping two 1-0 wins.

By a mixture of luck and other factors, Nsambya beat Spear Motors 1-0 and collected two points and two goals from Foods FC who abandoned the game.

Nsambya thus narrowly qualified for next stage of the race on the strength of a superior goal difference heavily boosted by their 18-goal spree against Wembley.

There were reports that the goals had actually been 14 but referee George Kyambadde recorded 18. Fufa moved fast and banned the referee for life.

Tobacco Vs Airlines

In 1986, it was alleged that the two super division clubs were engaged in a pre-fixing of the result of their second round game.

The match in question was played at Bugembe where the home side (Tobacco) trounced the visiting Airlines 12-0 and dislodged Coffee FC from the coveted second spot on the table.

Airlines, which had a week before licked KCC FC 1-0, collapsed and gave way for Tobacco to finish behind champions SC Villa.

After losing, Airlines players went on a drinking spree and celebrated in Jinja town.

Airline officials asked Fufa to punish some of their players. Fufa set up a committee headed by then federation boss Barnabas Byabazaire. But the report was not made public and no disciplinary action was taken.

Express Vs KCC

In 1993, Express needed seven goals to beat SC Villa to the league title. In their match against KCC, ahead of the decider against SC Villa, Express got a virtual walkover from a more-than-willing KCC who happily lost 6-0. Express then forced a 1-1 draw against SC Villa to claim their first title in 18 years.

UEB Vs KCC

In 1994, KCC saved UEB (Umeme) from being relegated, by throwing their second round match.

KCC Vs Posta

In 1995 KCC, lost 2-3 to Posta in a dull league match at Nakivubo Stadium.
It was evident that the cancer that had started eating KCC 10 years earlier, had matured. KCC players were just giving away goals since their team was out of he relegation zone.

This match saved Posta from relegation but was a big blow to Miracle FC who went down instead.

Villa sack players

In 1997, SC Villa sacked 14 senior players, claiming KCC had bribed them to concede both the League and Kakungulu Cup.

Referee confesses

In 1998, FIFA referee Siraje Katono alleged SC Villa official Ahmed 'Mandela' Omar had tried to entice him with Shs 500,000.

Villa-State House

In 1999, State House and SC Villa allegedly influenced Idudi and Pamba, respectively, not to honour two scheduled matches. The NFLC banned Pamba players but 'failed' to prove the allegations against SC Villa and State House.

Another referee

In 2000, Ali Kalyango exposed Military Police officials who had sent him an 'envelope' with Shs 50,000, employing a fellow referee as courier.

The list of accusations and counter-accusations is endless. But most annoying is that Fufa keeps playing deaf.

Apparently for FUFA, match fixing and bribery are 'normal business'. But because we have 'legalised' bribery, our game can only sink further.

And, as expected, none of our clubs can ever make an impact on the continent. The players simply can't stand the heat of real competition!

 
 

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