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By ESPN Staff
Jan 26, 2008

Ghana officials play down match-fixing allegations

Former Ghana international and tournament official Anthony Baffoe does not believe the African Nations Cup has been targeted by match fixers.

Benin coach Reinhard Fabisch claimed yesterday that he was asked to manipulate the result of his side's opening Group B match against Mali earlier this week.

The German revealed he was approached by an unknown African man at Benin's team hotel in Sekondi on Saturday, two days prior to the game with Mali, which Benin lost 1-0.

The man was given short shrift by Fabisch, but the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is set to launch an investigation.

And Baffoe, now the director for international relations at the tournament's Local Organising Committee (LOC), told PA Sport he had been disturbed by Fabisch's revelations.

'I've heard the reports this morning, but I'm not sure of the situation,' he said on Friday. 'To be honest I've never heard of something like this happening. And myself personally, I've never been approached to do such a thing, but I am surprised.'

Baffoe added that match-fixing was 'something common in Africa', but insisted that the African Nations Cup, being staged in his homeland this year, would be an unlikely arena for scandal.

'I don't believe that in such a tournament - a major African competition with all professional teams and players - something like this can take place,' he claimed.

'The level of competition is really high here and you can see from the quality of play so far that players are trying. If I was a player, why would I want to throw the game?

'In this year's African Nations Cup, players are looking to impress big clubs so they can perhaps earn a big move, more so the lesser teams.'