South African soccer teams banned for match-fixing

Four South African football clubs have been banned from the league for life amid some allegations of match-fixing.

Fourth-tier clubs Matiyasi FC, Shivulani Dangerous Tigers, Kotoko Happy Boys and Nsami Mighty Birds have been banned after a spectacular display that involved referees and club officials.

Matiasi and Mighty Birds plotted to keep the Tigers – with a 16-goal difference over second-placed Mattiasi – from rising from SAFA Mopani Zebras Steam A. .

Seeing this, players from Shivulani and Kootko came out and beat their peers. Several Happy Boys players left the field at the half due to fatigue, leaving only seven Kotoko players to finish the match.

The Tigers won 33-1. Meanwhile, Mattiasi was victorious 59-1 in a match that saw Nasami’s players score 41 goals.

The attention-grabbing final did just that, prompting the league to investigate.

Mattiasi was top of the league with 16-plus goals.

Vincent Ramvago, president of the Mopane region, told BBC Sport Africa: “When the two teams met previously in March, the results were considerably more sedate as Matiasí beat the Mighty Birds 2-1 while the Dangerous Tigers drew 2-2 with Happy Boys”.

Game records from several games on May 21 are not available on the league’s website.

Ramvago, head of the regional competitions committee, found that officials had issued red cards to Nami, leaving the club with seven players against Matiasi and not scoring several goals correctly.

“We found that the referee was just writing ‘Player 2 scored 10 goals, Player 5 scored 20 goals’ and so on,” Ramvago said.

Football lying on the grass.  - stock photos
Allegations of match-fixing included a team that scored 41 goals against themselves in a single match.
Getty Images

Mighty Birds coach Neil Thwala blamed his players for match-fixing, claiming they had been told that referees in a previous match were trying to help Matiasi.

“In the previous match we played, we were told that the referee is part of the Shivulane Dangerous Tigers,” he said in a radio interview. “We scored four goals but the referee canceled all of them but then they hit the side net and the referee said it was a goal. When we reported it, we were told that the referee’s decision was final.

“The players’ minds weren’t in the game because even if they won, they knew it wouldn’t help them in any way. I tried as a coach to push them but it was hard – there was nothing I could do.”

There is still a lot to do now – in addition to banning teams from competing, club officials have been suspended for up to eight seasons with offending referees absent for 10.

“These people have no respect for football, and we cannot allow that to happen again,” Ramvago said.

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