Christopher Chizoba has confessed that he was shocked when FIFA handed him a two-year ban over match-fixing scandal.
The Bangladesh Football Federation accused the Nigerian striker of engaging in match-fixing practices alongside teammates and officials of Indian league side Arambagh Krira Sangha FC.
The BFF imposed varying degrees of sanctions on the culprits. Arambagh was demoted to the lower league. The club president and some directors were banned for life. Several players received multi-year bans.
Chizoba was suspended from participating in football activities for two years. It was a news he said that came as a huge shock to him.
Speaking to Soccernet.ng, Chizoba said:
A friend and former teammate sent me the link to the news story while I was preparing for a match.
I was surprised and confused as I had not done anything wrong. Nobody had ever accused me of wrongdoing, whether in Bangladesh or India.
I was very disturbed, but I managed to play for my club that day, and we won. I didn’t really take the news seriously after that.
But when my club gave me a strong warning about the match-fixing issue, I realised it was a serious problem, and I started thinking of what to do next.
I didn’t know the country’s football had any history with match-fixing,” Chizoba offers. “I don’t focus on matters like that, really. I just wanted to get back to playing football after coronavirus kept me idle in Guinea for about seven, eight months.
Although, there are times I suspected something was wrong. My team would score a goal, and our opponents would go up and score a goal too.
But no club official, no teammate ever approached me to fix a match.
It was all over the news. The media was saying everybody was guilty. But they (the BFF) only sanctioned the officials. Once they name an official, we would no longer see him come around the dressing room. But they never mentioned any player. They never accused me.
And when I was to leave the country, they even cleared me. That was why the ban came as a total shock to me.