World Cup bound Nigeria has been under investigative light since a known Singaporean match fixing lord accused the Football Federation on match fixing allegations in games preluding the country's qualification to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Actually Perumal claims that he has been involved in fixing Nigeria's games since the mid 90's.
Ejide Ignites Match Fixing Allegation With 'Deliberate' Own Goal Attempt
FIFA Playing Close Attention To Every Detail
The recent case on the match-fixing saga borders around the international friendly between Nigeria and Scotland on Wednesday May 28, 2014. The match which was equally under investigation by the British police on a tip off of possible match fixing in the game; one filled with intrigues and questionable display especially that of Goalie Austin Ejide.
The game ended 2-2 in what could have been a 4-2 victory for Scotland had two goals not been disallowed by referee Lee Probert, Nigeria's number two Austin Ejide was involved in one of the goals.
Ejide ran out to stop an incoming ball from entering his net as play showed but it did seem like he aided the ball into his own net; the goal stopper appeared to have thrown the ball right into his net before the referee called for an infringement on him from a Scottish player Grant Hanley.
The Nigerian goalie was spotted in the video replay clearly pushing the ball into his net whereas a good intent would have meant pushing the ball outside to safety. The Goalkeeper had the ball comfortably sitting in his hands before his left elbow collided with Hanley's neck which made the Scottish player lower his head to avoid what could have been an injury to either player.
Ejide who was standing in between the post in the absence of Number one Vincent Enyeama has come under heavy criticism for his bizarre goalkeeping which could hinder his appearance at the Brazil World Cup if investigations currently on prove that there had been a case of improper conduct in the game and if he is indicted of contributing to the suspicions.
Days earlier before the match, UK's National Crime Agency contacted the Scottish FA in an inquiry on a tip off from anonymous sources that the match was going to be fixed, and then the Ejide incident. Nigeria's Egwueke later conceded an own goal to put the Scottish team in the lead only for Uche Nwofor to level the game 2-2 at the 90th minute.
Chief coach Stephen Keshi has already come to the defence of his players, insisting that they are ''not gamblers.''
''I don't think it (match-fixing allegation) had anything to do with our build-up or the game. I don't even know where that is coming from. We don't know what happened, match-fixing or no match-fixing.''
Keshi unequivocally said that ''this is the first time I've been a coach or been a player and the first time I'm hearing this, match fixing.
''We did talk about it because it's something ridiculous, something that we don't know where it is coming from. We're not gamblers, we are football players.''
Match fixing has been around the corner for quite a while and footballers are wary of it: Perumal's allegation dated back to the mid 90's and current chief coach Stephen Keshi had captained Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup finals in the USA, coached the National team of Togo before becoming the coach of the Super Eagles.
Scotland coach is however not perturbed by the allegation surrounding the game, he chose to comment on the outcome of the game, he simply said: “I liked that performance.
“We could have ended up with four or five goals and that's the first time I have said that.
“There is a lot to be proud of and I'm just disappointed for them that we haven't got the win,” Strachan added.
Were the two own goals (one allowed and the other disallowed) deliberate attempts to prove or disprove something? Were there outside forces controlling th result of the game?
Nobody has the answer with all certainty, and nobody but FIFA will investigate the suspicions and allegations with all facts from the game including the bizarre attempt to score an own goal: Ejide’s 'wonderful' save looked especially '(un)professional' and '(un)accidental' considering the pre-game controversy surrounding the fixture.
The fact that Nigeria scored in the 89'54 minute to prevent the loss and salvage a 2-2 draw could offer evidence to the contrary and as well push the suspicion further.