LONDON: Fear over matchfixers targeting the World Cup have been exacerbated by the latest concerns over possible vulnerability of the Nigerian team.
A recent book, Kelong Kings, about the matchfixing activities of convicted Wilson Ray Perumal, claimed that Nigeria national teams at various levels had been targeted for up to the last seven years.
Then Britain’s National Crime Agency alerted football authorities out of concern about Nigeria’s friendly match against Scotland in London last midweek. In the event the match appeared to go off normally – apart from one awful own goal blunder by Nigerian goalkeeper Austin Ejide.
Undercover reporters from the Sun on Sunday have filmed football agent Henry Chukwuma Okoroji claiming that he could arrange a yellow card at the World Cup finals in Brazil for €50,000 and that, for double, a player would concede a penalty.
In a recording by the reporters, Okoroji claims he had already secured two Nigerian players for the World Cup and was looking to recruit more. He also claimed to be close to a senior figure in the Nigerian Football Federation who would be able to influence team selection.
Okoroji was quoted as saying home-based Nigerian players were most vulnerable to illicit approaches because “they do not pocket huge salaries like their European-based team-mates.”