Why Western Stima Chairman Jobita dropped match-fixing case
- The long serving football administrator and former player is disillusioned that the existing rules are not enough to stop the culprits, coupled by lack of goodwill and support from relevant authorities.
Match-fixing has gained roots in Kenya to worrying heights and will be difficult to stop, Western Stima Chairman Laban Jobita has warned.
The long serving football administrator and former player is disillusioned that the existing rules are not enough to stop the culprits, coupled by lack of goodwill and support from relevant authorities.
In the beginning of this season, Jobita exposed a case where a Ugandan was bribing his players to manipulate their match against KCB, only to withdraw the case days later for what he explains as the quagmire of the matter.
“We didn’t start the season well. Some people grounded in betting took advantage of our financial crisis after the exit of our sponsors (KPLC), targeting our players. I however got to know about it early enough, but I found myself alone without anyone willing to support me – not the federation (FKF), not FIFA too.
“Without the support I expected from the authorities and upon realisation that match fixing is happening all over the world, I had to withdraw because I cannot fight it alone,” a dejected Jobita explained.
The furthest he could go was to expel the players he established had sunk into the mess, insisting on rearing players willing to observe the cardinal principle of fairness in the beautiful game.
“I had set a trap after getting the hint about the person who was approaching players to manipulate them. When the police came, they insisted I hand over to them the players who I had used to set the trap, which was difficult to do. On the other hand, FIFA and FKF only deal with their affiliated members by registration. Thus, they could deal with him, so it became complicated to advance the matter,” further elucidated Jobita.
He thus kept the players who were positive to his call for fair play despite the financial crisis in his team, doing away with the culprits and their sympathisers.
“I also expelled those who insisted they knew nothing yet I had established the truth. I rung changes in the technical bench also because the vice was thriving under their watch, claiming they were unaware yet they were the closest to the boys. How comes I could unearth the mess yet I barely interact with the players directly compared to them?”
The changes saw over 14 players dismissed, as well as former coach Paul Ogai with veteran tactician Abdallah Juma taking over.
Asked if he smells rival clubs in the FKF Premier League could be engaging in match-fixing, Jobita, though coy, could not rule out the possibility.
“I know it is happening but I don’t have tangible evidence to support my claim. The person we caught attempting to manipulate our match told me he was only a drop in the ocean, wondering why I was spending my energy to deal with him only,” agonisingly noted the Chairman.
His signal that Kenya could have plunged into the rot difficult to redeem from with the existing regulations comes at a time when topflight side Zoo Kericho has been expelled from the league on the same grounds.
A detailed report was not released who exactly within the Kericho based club was involved directly hence the axe, although the club’s leadership vowed to push to the limits of law to have the sanctions reversed.
Meanwhile, Jobita is confident the team he has now is clean and not playing for money, as he desperately knocks doors for new sponsors.
“I can confidently tell you the players we have are playing for fun and for the love of the game. It is not about money at least for now. We talked, and we keep talking about it, that we must pay the price to keep the club in the Premier League, because honestly without a sponsor it is not easy to run a club.
“I share with them proceeds from my businesses, little as they may get but they understand, and go to the length of hosting some of the players in my house,” the former Gor Mahia player said.
He is upbeat that once the new young players he recruited after the debacle build the cohesion they are working on, they will fight and keep their Premier League status.
“I expected them to start slowly, and soon after gelling you will see what they can offer. We have very talented players who also understand what we want to achieve,” said Jobita, who says his only pay from the sacrifices he makes for the team is the satisfaction that comes with developing top talent.
“I gain absolutely nothing, but my joy is seeing players from Stima excelling in other big clubs. When I see Kenneth Muguna, Joash Onyango and so on, I feel rewarded. I also cannot imagine Stima going down, the only club in the top league now in the entire Nyanza region,” passionately said Jobita.
At the writing of this account, Stima are at 15th on the 17-team log, only ahead of struggling Vihiga United and Mathare United.
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