“Ferrying Nigeria and Honduras to the World Cup was a personal achievement. ‘Fuck,’ I considered. ‘I got two teams to qualify for the World Cup but I cannot tell anyone.'”
Fresh trouble may be brewing for Nigeria following the shocking revelations by a Singaporean match-fixer that he helped the Super Eagles qualify for South Africa 2010 World Cup by fixing a match for the country.
In a report published in the UK Guardian, Wilson Raj Perumal gave detailed account of his supposed shady dealings with a Nigerian football official in his book, written in conjunction with investigative journalists, Alessandro Righi and Emanuele Piano.
Perumal in the report claimed he had a meeting with a football official in which he promised to help Nigeria qualify for the World Cup in return for free rein in organising three warm-up matches and a cut of the money FIFA provides for hosting a training camp during the tournament.
Perumal also claimed to have influenced three players on his payroll to help Nigeria to victory in one of their qualifiers.
He also claimed to have promised the Mozambique FA a $100,000 bonus if they were able to hold Tunisia to a draw and so stop Tunisia leapfrogging Nigeria and seizing automatic qualification. Mozambique secured an unlikely 1-0 victory.
“My plan had worked and I was the unsung hero of Nigeria’s qualification to the final rounds of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa,” writes Perumal. “Ferrying Nigeria and Honduras to the World Cup was a personal achievement. ‘Fuck,’ I considered. ‘I got two teams to qualify for the World Cup but I cannot tell anyone.'”
This is not the first time Nigeria will be at the centre of match fixing allegations. There were allegations in the past that the Nigeria/ Greece match at the 2010 World Cup and a high profile friendly match between the Super Eagles and Argentina played in Abuja in 2011 were also fixed.
While the earlier accusations were not proven and football officials denied them, there is for now no official word from the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, on the new allegations.
With FIFA seen not to condone any act of match-fixing, it is yet to be seen how the fresh allegations made against the current African champions will be treated.
Nigeria is currently preparing for her 5th World Cup appearance in Brazil.
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