Former Asante Kotoko midfielder Michael Akuffo has expressed great concern and worry over recent allegations of match of convenience making its way into Ghana football, expressing deep worry over the seeming reticence of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) about the matter.
The experienced midfielder spoke to ghanasportspage.com, and waged into comparison of the state of football in the country currently, compared to his days, and he believes the game in the presence generation is being destroyed by the issues of betting among stakeholders of the game.
Akuffo’s worry is in reference to a premier league match played in July last year between Ashanti Gold SC and the now relegated side Inter Allies at the Obuasi Len Clay stadium, where Ashanti Gold, the home side won by 7-0 with Inter Allies player Hashmin Musah, scoring two own goals in the match. Hashmin later alleged after match that he intentionally scored those two own goals in protest to destroy a bet staked on the game by some team officials.
“I heard it in our hotel that a bet had been made for a correct score line of 5 goals to 1 against my club Inter Allies.
“I decided to spoil that bet because I don’t condone betting,” Hashmin Musah is quoted as having said in an interview with Kumasi FM.
He said his technical team commended him for his actions after the game.
“After the game my technical team commended me for spoiling the bet they had staked.
I promised my coach that if he allows me to play from the bench I will spoil the bet. And after the game, my team congratulated me, he added.”
Since July 2021, nothing has been done so far in terms of punishment either for the player, nor the two clubs involved. The GFA claimed to have handed the matter over to the police to treat it as a criminal matter, but no one has since been punished and the case is left hanging in the guise of investigations.
Comparing the game during his days at Asante Kotoko with today, Michael Akuffo is left saddened by the current conditions, and has admonished the GFA to wake up.
“There’s been a lot of difference [in the local league now compared to our days], because in our time those betting betting issues were not there, and in our time time too people were watching football”, Akuffo said, speaking to ghanasportspage.com.
“Supporters do come to the stadium in their numbers to satisfaction. And in our time that issue of allow me to beat you wasn’t going on. We won the league for three consecutive times and with wide gab all cases. We could open a wide gab with about 15 or 20 points but in all we never say we were on top so we allow those at the bottom to beat us to climb up, it never happened”, he said.
Expressing concern about the current situation, Michael Akuffo stated that the situation has generational issue, but expressed sadness over why what happened between Inter Allies and Ashgold seems to be going unpunished.
“In football sometimes it happens like that and every generation and what they come with, so I will say the FA has to do something about it. I am very very sad about what happened between Inter Allies and Ashgold, up to now nothing has happened, and we have this same player playing professional football in Niger – that guy who scored those intentional two goals in the name of spoiling a staked bet. He is playing professional football in Niger. So sometimes its painful but what can we do – so our FA should do something about it else it destroys our league”, Akuffo lamented.
The GFA has said that investigations into such matters take time to establish, but Michael Akuffo bets to differ. He believes a player who has made personal confession needs nothing much more to effect a sanction.
“This is the situation where we have a player who has said they staked a bet and he scored the [own] goals to spoil the bet. So such a thing doesn’t help to promote football, because at that instance once the person has admitted he must be dealt with by the law. But he is the situation he is playing professional football in Niger. So when you look at all these things sometimes it discourages the system and that’s why most of the clubs would indulge in these things thinking that even when this [club] did it nothing happened”, he bemoaned.
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