Three match-fixing suspects are being detained by police in Kasarani, Nairobi.
Martin Munga Mutua from Kenya, Bernard Navendi from Uganda, and Akhiad Kubiev from Russia were nabbed in Zimmerman on Friday at around 10 pm, following an ambush conducted by police.
Patrick Korir, the chief executive officer of Kenyan Premier League side City Stars, said that the suspects had approached his players to influence the outcome of their league game.
City Stars and Sofapaka were due to square off at Ruaraka Grounds in Nairobi on Saturday.
If the arrangement was successful, the players would receive Sh1.8 million ($14,000). They were to first collect Sh30,000 each via Mpesa as part of the ruse.
Korir said he came to know the suspects through former Kakamega Homeboyz player, Festus Omukoto, who had previously been suspended by the world football governing body, Fifa, over match-fixing.
Omukoto was among the four local players banned by Fifa in 2020 for four years after they were found guilty of match-fixing.
Others affected by the world governing body’s far-reaching verdict were Festus Okiring and Moses Chikati. Ugandan George Mandela was banned for life.
In the encounter between City Stars and Sofapaka, the directive by the suspects was that the Simba wa Nairobi concede a goal in the opening 10 minutes and go for the breather trailing 1-0.
Between the 70th and 78th minute, the suspects were to make another live bet that City Stars was going to concede two more goals in the last 10 minutes of the clash. In case City Stars scored a goal, Sofapaka was required to add another.
Korir said the meeting was originally scheduled to take place at a hotel in Roysambu but the suspects, suspicious they might be caught, decided to move the venue to an apartment in the neighborhood.
Korir said that they immediately tipped the Kenya Police football club through their chief executive officer, Chris Onguso, who deployed officers to nab the suspects.
Confirming the incident, police said they deployed five officers to lay an ambush once they received the information.
The players were released at midnight after recording their statement, alongside Korir and the club’s coordinator Samson Otieno.
Omukoto said he did not want the predicament that befell him to ruin the careers of other footballers.