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Threat of match-fixing hits African Nations Cup
by Paul Kennedy, January 28th, 2008 6:30AM

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[AFRICA WATCH] One of the unfortunate consequences of the increased popularity in the African Nations Cup is the interest of Asian betting syndicates.

Twice in the last week low-profile teams revealed they were approached to throw games.

Namibia's Brave Warriors were reportedly offered $30,000 apiece to throw their final group game against Guinea on Monday.

Reinhard Fabisch, Benin's German coach, claimed that he had been approached by a representative of Singapore-based syndicate to fix the Squirrels' game against Mali last Monday. Benin lost, 1-0.

"I was astonished that he had the guts to approach a German to fix a football match," said Fabisch. "I think that African players are vulnerable to this kind of approach, because many of them don't have money. This is why poor countries like Benin are targeted. I cut him short and told him to leave. It doesn't help football."

African soccer confederation officials insisted that match-fixing is not a problem in Africa and commended the Namibian players for coming forward after they were approached.

The specter of match-fixing of another kind arose, though, when results on the second day of play in the African championship left the leaders of two groups only needing ties when they meet this week to assure themselves spots in the quarterfinals.

An Ivory Coast-Mali tie on Tuesday will send both teams into the quarterfinals even if Nigeria beats Benin in a game that kicks off at the same time. Angola and Tunisia will eliminate Senegal (whose Polish coach, Henri Kasperczak, quit after Sunday's 3-1 loss to Angola) and World Cup 2010 host South Africa if they tie on Thursday in their Group D finale.

"There will be no agreement," said Mali captain Mahamadou Diarra, who is suspended for the game against the Ivory Coast. "Of course, the game will probably be less spectacular than if both teams were desperate for all three points."

(Television: Available on-demand online at 3A Telesud and Ghana2008.tv)

SCOREBOARD
Group A
Jan. 20 in Accra
Ghana 2 Guinea 1
Jan. 21 in Accra
Morocco 5 Namibia 1
Jan. 24 in Accra
Guinea 3 Morocco 2
Ghana 1 Namibia 0
Jan. 28 in Accra
Ghana vs. Morocco
Jan. 28 in Sekondi
Guinea vs. Namibia

Group B
Jan. 21 in Sekondi
Ivory Coast 1 Nigeria 0
Mali 1 Benin 0
Jan. 25 in Sekondi
Ivory Coast 4 Benin 1
Nigeria 0 Mali 0
Jan, 29 in Sekondi
Nigeria vs. Benin
Jan. 29 in Accra
Ivory Coast vs. Mali

Group C
Jan. 22 in Kumasi
Egypt 4 Cameroon 2
Zambia 3 Sudan 0
Jan. 26 in Kumasi
Cameroon 5 Zambia 1
Egypt 3 Sudan 0
Jan. 30 in Kumasi
Cameroon vs. Sudan
Jan. 30 in Tamale
Egypt vs. Zambia

Group D
Jan. 23 in Tamale
Tunisia 2 Senegal 2
South Africa 1 Angola 1
Jan. 27 in Tamale
Angola 3 Senegal 1
Tunisia vs. South Africa
Jan. 31 in Kumasi
Senegal vs. South Africa
Jan. 31 in Tamale
Tunisia vs. Angola

Quarterfinals
Feb. 3 in Accra
Match 1: A1 vs. B2
Feb. 3 in Tamale
Match 2: B1 vs. A2
Feb. 4 in Sekondi
Match 3: C1 vs. D2
Feb. 4 in Kumasi
Match 4: D1 vs. C2

Semifinals
Feb. 7 in Accra
Match 1 winner vs. Match 4 winner
Feb. in Kumasi
Match 2 winner vs. Match 3 winner

Third-Place Game
Feb. 9 in Accra

Final
Feb. 10 in Accra

 



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