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Express suspend skipper Ntambi amid investigations into match fixing

FOOTBALL | Express FC have suspended skipper Julius Ntambi indefinitely as part of wider investigations into match fixing by players.

The suspension was announced by FC chairman Kiryowa Kiwanuka on Thursday with the man who took over the club management in August saying “Express FC maintains a policy of zero tolerance to indiscipline.”

“In Express FC’s drive to excellence, discipline in all its facets shall be and remains the fundamental building block. Ntambi’s conduct has been found wanting in several aspects and is now the subject of investigation,” Kiryorwa, who is running a campaign to end indiscipline at Wankulukuku in all its manifestation, said in a news release.

He said the club is investigating cases of indiscipline and misconduct by the skipper but did not divulge the specifics.

However, sources at Wankulukuku say Ntambi, who was named captain in September as FC announced the squad for 2018/19 season, has been fingered in match fixing with the Red Eagles’ last two results turning into the straw on his back.

Express threw away a first half lead and a chance to go to within a point of the top when it drew one-all with Bright Stars last month before falling tamely to unheralded and struggling Onduparaka at home last week.

In both matches, the right back was among the players called out for giving away costly possessions.

The club is also understood to be investigating other players, including a goalkeeper, in the match fixing allegations.

Ntambi’s suspension comes in the wake of other league clubs cracking the whip on match fixing by sorting out the chaffs among the wheat at their club.

Earlier in the week, Nyamityobora FC, under the leadership of another no nonsense director Ben Misagga, suspended skipper Henry Wamala, goalkeeper Franco Oringa and midfielder Bruhan Matovu on allegations of match fixing.

Interestingly, the three players were accused of match fixing in a game involving Bright Stars. The Ankole side had led through Patrick Gohanasa and Ibrahim Dada’s first half strikes and dominated for large spells before conceding what appeared like a consolation in the 48th minute, only to let in two goals in stoppage time to surrender the win.

The culture of match fixing became rife in the league after Fufa allowed league matches on gaming odds. From players to coaches and referees, the temptation for quick bucks thrown in by betting companies is too appealing for many.

Most players in the league earn a paltry Shs500,000 a month in salaries exclusive of allowances for training and matches but betting companies can throw in as much as Shs3 million to throw away a single game.

The lucrative crime has seen many clubs as well as the FA fighting back. In October, Police FC chairman Assan Kasingye announced the suspension of Godfrey Kateregga and Saddat Kyambadde for match-fixing.

While last month, Fufa handed big suspensions to three match officials who appeared to throw away Express FC’s hard fought victory over Vipers SC at Wankulukuku.

Centre referee Ronald Kirangwa (three-year ban) and his two assistants Samuel Kakembo (five years) and Lydia Wanyama (two months) had a horror show in a televised StarTimes Uganda Premier League match.

In November last year, URA FC suspended Fahad Kawooya and Oscar Agaba for match-fixing while SC Villa had cracked the whip on five players six months earlier.

In 2016, then KCCA FC coach Sam Ssimbwa was banned after a sensational claim in which he confessed to match fixing on tape was leaked.

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