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Kelong King claims: 7 'bad apples' in Cameroon team

The New Paper | Friday, Jul 4, 2014

Cameroon's Alexandre Song bizarrely elbows an opponent in the back in clear sight of the referee, gets sent off, and his team goes on to lose 4-0 to Croatia.

Now Wilson Raj Perumal has given the World Cup Group A match a new complexion.

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported yesterday that not only did the notorious Singaporean match fixer predict the score of the match on June 19 (Singapore time), he also predicted that a Cameroon player would get a red card.

He was reported to have said that there were "seven bad apples" in the Cameroon team and that he believed all three of their World Cup matches had been compromised.

So does Wilson Raj possess a crystal ball, or has he gone back to his old tricks to sully football's showpiece event in Brazil?

He may have put himself in the media spotlight again, but if a close Singaporean associate of his is to be believed, his prediction may have nothing to do with soothsaying or match fixing.

LUCKY GUESS?

It may have been nothing more than a lucky guess, said the associate, who requested anonymity.

"For somebody like Wilson Raj, who claims to know of fixed matches, how come he tells his friends to bet between $300 and $500 on his behalf with Singapore Pools?" he said. "If he was that confident, wouldn't he have bet more? It's all a fluke."

The driver said Wilson Raj had been calling friends in Singapore and offering them tips since the start of the World Cup.

"Of all his tips for more than 50 games, all were wrong except three," said the associate, who believes that Wilson Raj is broke.

The three matches were: Ivory Coast v Japan, Chile v Australia and Croatia v Cameroon.

"If you had followed all his tips, you would also be broke and have loan sharks knocking on your door," he said.

HARD TO TELL

Mr Terry Steans, a consultant for anti-match-fixing agency SI Sports Intelligence, said it was difficult to tell if Wilson Raj had prior knowledge of the Cameroon-Croatia scoreline.

"Without all available information, it's hard to say," said the former member of Fifa's security team.

"It has everything to be a fix, except proof."

Given that Wilson Raj is a prosecution witness in match-fixing trials in Hungary, there are doubts that he had a hand in fixing the Cameroon-Croatia match - if it was indeed fixed.

But it's not unusual for runners of match fixers to share or sell tips to others. Mr Steans believes that Wilson Raj may have got wind of the information in the manner and used it to get media attention.

Mr Steans said: "He has opened his mouth to the press to 'big' himself and blow the new guys (other match fixers)."

On Wilson Raj's Facebook account, he had previously posted tips like "punters focus on over 2.5, you will laugh your way to the bank at the end of the tournament".

For the Ivory Coast v Japan match, Wilson Raj had predicted on Facebook: "Ivory Coast v Japan over 2.5 nap", meaning Ivory Coast would beat Japan by a three-goal margin - but the score was 2-1 in favour of the African nation.

This is not the first time Der Spiegel has published shocking reports based on conversations with Singaporean match fixers.

Last March, it claimed that Singaporean kelong kingpin Dan Tan Seet Eng had said that he tried in vain to fix a Champions League match between Barcelona and Fenerbahce in September 2001.

CONNECTION

This is also not the first time that Wilson Raj has been linked to match fixing on football's grandest stage.

In April, the 48-year-old claimed in his book "Kelong Kings" that he was instrumental in Nigeria's qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

He said he rigged their qualification in exchange for permission to organise warm-up matches and a cut of the money for hosting a training camp.

He claimed he had paid the Mozambique FA $100,000 to fend off Tunisia with a draw - a result that helped Nigeria seal their place in South Africa.

A Fifa report also highlighted that his kelong cartel had compromised friendlies in the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup.

For somebody like Wilson Raj, who claims to know of fixed matches, how come he tells his friends to bet between $300 and $500 on his behalf with Singapore Pools?

If he was that confident, wouldn't he have bet more?

- A close Singaporean associate of Wilson Raj, who declined to be named.


This article was first published on July 2, 2014.
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