By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof and Veena Bharwani
THE seemingly insignificant international football match played in Bahrain on Sept 7 became an international sensation - for the wrong reasons.
The Togo team that lost the friendly match 0-3 to Bahrain was exposed as being made up of imposters.
And the result appeared to have been fixed.
How could this happen? Who would be bold enough to pull this off?
The answer: Singapore's kelong king Wilson Raj Perumal.
Perhaps the more important question is: How did he do it?
For the first time, two people who know Wilson Raj's connections have stepped forward to reveal intimate details of how he ran his illegal match-fixing business.
Wilson Raj has been named by sources and newspapers to be central to a web of deceit involving African teams and match fixing on an international scale involving millions of dollars.
The Togo con-job would have gone unnoticed if not for the Togolese Football Federation getting wind of the fraudsters through an official who was at the match.
Wilson Raj and men linked to him are now being investigated by the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) for arranging the "fake" Togo team to play Bahrain, BFA vice-president Sheik Ali Khalifa told The New Paper.
A measure of how bold - or desperate - Wilson Raj is can be seen in his involvement despite being on the run from the Singapore authorities since July 13.
He failed to appear for his appeal hearing against the sentence of five years' corrective training for injuring an auxiliary police officer.
Most would expect the die-hard football crook to lie low after earlier convictions for match-fixing here in 1995and 1999.
Surely, he would not risk repeating the same offences that got him jailed. Instead, he had gone from small-time local match-fixer to global match hustler, said two sources who know Wilson Raj.