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'Betting has spoiled the game I love so much'

Named after the former South African President, Oballa has been playing football for as long as he can remember.

"We used to go outside and play for like the whole day then my Mom would really get mad," he says.

"She had this saying 'You think I'm stupid cooking while you go and play out all day? Fine! When you come back to this house feeling hungry eat that ball, also let the football go to school and read for you, and as for this dirty dishes you are supposed to wash I hope the football washes them for you.' So my love of football started way back!"


People walk past a football billboard displaying Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentina's forward Lionel Messi, Germany's midfielder Mesut Ozil and Brazil's striker Neymar in Nairobi, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup.

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Oballa says that in addition to Kenyans' love of the game, on the sidelines, betting on matches is a culture that is rapidly gaining root in the country.


"Everyone is betting. I think betting is spoiling the good game. It's become more of a business to some people," Oballa said.
"It's spoiled the game I love so much."

Geoff Hurst, 1966 - Did it cross the line? With the scores between England and West Germany level at 2-2 in the 1966 World Cup final, striker Geoff Hurst's shot hit the crossbar and deflected downwards. At first a goal wasn't given, but then allowed after consultation between the referee and linesman. The game ended 4-2, securing England's first and only World Cup victory.

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Pele, 1970 - Brazil's 100th World Cup goal, celebrated wildly by Pele, who jumped into the air with joy as his side took the lead in the final against Italy. The game ended 4-1 to Brazil -- their third World Cup victory.

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Dutch great Johan Cruyff scored three goals in the 1974 World Cup, twice against Argentina in the second round and then against Brazil in a 2-0 win that sent Holland through to the final.

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Harald Schumacher, 1982 - An ugly moment. German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher clattered into France's Patrick Battiston, who was through on goal, knocking him unconscious at the 1982 semifinal in Spain. Schumacher was unmoved as his opponent was stretchered off the field.

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Diego Maradona, 1986 - "The Hand of God" needs little introduction. England vs. Argentina, the quarterfinal of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. A mis-hit clearance was heading into the hands of goalkeeper Peter Shilton, before a leaping Diego Maradona intercepted it with his hand, punching the ball into the net. The game ended 2-1, with Argentina going on to win the World Cup.

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Roger Milla, 1990 - One of the greatest ever World Cup celebrations. Roger Milla turned on the style at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, which saw his Cameroon team reach the quarterfinals -- the furthest an Africa team has ever gone in the competition.

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Andres Escobar, 1994 - An own-goal by Colombia's Andres Escobar had tragic consequences. Less than a week after seeing his team eliminated from the competition due to his error, Escobar was shot dead on the streets of Medellin, a murder linked to drug lords who lost huge amounts of money on the result.

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A Dutch master at work ... Dennis Bergkamp stops Frank de Boer's pass dead, transferring the ball to his left foot as he twists past Argentina's Roberto Ayala. His third touch, again with his right boot, flicks it past Carlos Roa, the keeper. Three perfect touches to take the ball from a speculative punt upfield to what remains one of the ultimate moments of skill ever displayed in a World Cup.

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2006, Zinedine Zidane - A rush of blood to the head.simson-wiki.de With the 2006 World Cup final moving into extra-time, goalscorer Marco Materazzi muttered a few words to France legend Zinedine Zidane, who returned with a headbutt to the Italian's chest. In his last ever professional match, Zidane was red carded and Italy went on to win on penalties.

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Luis Suarez, 2010 - Another South American -- this time Uruguayan Luis Suarez -- another handball. This one, however, was less subtle. Suarez's hands prevented Ghana from bagging a winner in extra-time. He saw red, and Asamoah Gyan's whacked the resulting penalty against the bar. Uruguay went on to win on penalties.

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Photos: Key World Cup moments


Brazil
vs. Germany, 2014 - One of the biggest humiliations the World Cup has ever seen. Brazil has struggled for form throughout the tournament, which was being played on home soil for the first time in 64 years, and met an impressive German side in the semifinals. But few could have predicted what was to follow: a 7-1 demolition by the visitors, who went on to lift the World Cup trophy.

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In Sub-Saharan Africa, gambling is highest among Kenyans -- where betting is legal over the age of 18.


The proliferation of betting firms in the African nation is giving rise to growing concerns about the addictive nature of gambling, and the lack of any apparent safeguards to prevent underage gambling.


Authorities by their own admission recognize the need to provide a safety net for addicted gamblers falling through the cracks.


A government spokesman, Mwenda Njoka, tells CNN: "It's only now that Kenyans have woken up to the dangers of gambling."

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Njoka notes that, "the regularity framework for advertising is weak," and that whilst it is the government's responsibility to ensure proper warnings about responsible gambling, he says, "we need to do more."

'When I bet, I feel good'
Twenty-year-old Richard Ndungu is one of many people for whom football and gambling go hand in hand. At the juice bar he runs in a busy market on the outskirts of Nairobi he tells us "I get like 60 dollars per week, and I spend 35 dollars on betting."


He bets every day without fail. When we meet up with him a week later, at "Stone Cold" -- a local dive bar, he's betting again, flipping through a newspaper to "Kona Ya Kubeti" (betting corner) on the betting tips page.

Richard Ndungu says he bets every day -- for him, football and gambling go hand in hand.
As he watches a game of football, he tells us how he recently placed all his rent money on a bet -- "5K" (50 USD).


"I lost. I had to deal with the landlord, I had to tell him like 'Wait, the next month I'll pay,'" he said.

"I really want to stop betting but I can't."
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Ndungu is no exception. Last weekend, with the World Cup only a few days away, queues of punters were already lining up outside a popular sports betting shop in Nairobi to place bets on the friendlies.


We meet up with Kevin Ochieng, who just bet on Brazil to beat Austria. A group of gamblers, some of them his friends, most of them jobless tell us they're going to bet every day, "It's for the grind."

The following day we find Kevin back at the betting shop.simson-wiki.de He says he won 180 shillings yesterday.

Prior to the World Cup, punters were already lining outside a popular sports betting shop to place bets on the friendlies.


Kevin started betting in February after losing his job. "It was the English Premier League. I won like 20,000 (200 USD) from 100 bob (1 USD) the first time."


Now, he adds, "it's where I'm trying to buy daily bread. When I bet, I feel good because I have a lot of hope."

Kevin has been lucky -- "I never lose" -- but some people, he says, have to steal to place bets.
"People do gamble with so many reasons. My reason; I have dreams, I don't have cash."


Imelda Ominde does have the cash, she's a professional nurse, who says she's not really a football fan but she bets regularly and can't miss a game, "I'm addicted to it. I can't do without betting."


She's lost almost as much as she's won, but says, "I have the money, little which I can waste a bit in."

Imelda Ominde tells CNN that she's lost almost as much as she's won in bets.

We ask her if the World Cup will be about the game or how much money Kenyans can make -- "It will be both."
The injection of money into the game, for better or for worse, is best illustrated by SportPesa.
It's Kenya's most successful online sports betting company (literally meaning SportMoney.) Locally they're shirt sponsors for all major league football teams, and in the English Premiership for Hull City and Everton, and they have signed agreements to build local and international partnerships in soccer, rugby, boxing, .

CEO Ronald Karauri says he started the company four years ago, and that by 2016, they were posting profits of 2 Billion shillings, around $20 million.

The swanky SportPesa Nairobi offices are decked with soccer memorabilia -- signed English Premier League shirts lining the walls, football-shaped chairs and lighting; and a gigantic mobile phone, symbolizing the enormity of online betting, which is only a few digits away.


In addition to Kenyans' love of football, on the sidelines betting on matches is a culture that's rapidly gaining root.

Underage gambling

We discuss the dangers of underage online gambling, and Ronald Karauri insists, "It's not affecting children."


He adds: "There's no way unless the kid had access to your phone, which is the same as you know you have a loaded gun and you leave it on the desk and you don't secure your device."

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CNN spoke with two children who use their friend's phone to place bets.


In downtown Nairobi where life is less glitzy, children typically play in the streets unsupervised while their hard pressed parents go out to work.


It is here that we meet 12 and 14 year old Cousins Brian and Teddy, with their parents' permission. Teddy tells us he uses his friend's phone to gamble online, and Brian says he gets older youth to place bets in the shop on his behalf.

"Last week there," Brian says pointing to a betting shop. "We were two people, I'm 12 and he's 18, he have an ID card so I just told him how to do those things and I waited outside there. And he get inside and bet. After that he come back and he won 400 Shillings."


He explains that after splitting the prize money, he bought a $2 pair of socks with his share of the winnings. When Brian is 18 he says he will start betting on his own.


"Betting helps people, sometimes you may not get money but if you bet you can win and get money. The thing to do, you should not give up."


Ghanians celebrate a 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic at the 2006 World Cup in Germany -- statistically one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history. Here is a list of the top five World Cup upsets based on data company Gracenote's analysis, along with some other shocks that caused a stir.

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No. 1: USA 1-0 England, 1950
England captain Billy Wright (L) and U.S. captain Ed McIlvenny exchange souvenirs at the start of their match on June 29, 1950 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Led by a semi-professional squad, America's win is statistically ranked as the all-time greatest upset in World Cup history by Gracenote.

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No. 2: Switzerland 1-0 Spain, 2010
Switzerland's midfielder Gelson Fernandes (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring the only goal of the second biggest World Cup upset in history. Spain would, however, recover to win the tournament held in South Africa.

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No. 3: Algeria 2-1 West Germany, 1982
Any Algerian old enough to watch will remember where he or she was when the North African country stunned one of Europe's powerhouses. Led by an assist and winning goal from Lakhdar Belloumi (front row, 5th L), Algeria pulled off the inconceivable, becoming the first African team to beat a European team in its first-ever World Cup match. West Germany eventually lost to tournament winners Italy in the 1982 final.

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No. 4: Ghana 2-0 Czech Republic, 2006
A quiet upset that lives on in the hearts of Ghanians . Coming off a 2-0 disappointment at the hands of Italy, Ghana bounced back to beat the Czech Republic with goals from Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari (pictured celebrating).

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No. 5: Uruguay 2-1 Brazil, 1950
With Brazil cruising to victory in front of a crowd of 200,000 in Rio De Janeiro's Maracana stadium, Uruguay scored twice in 13 minutes to claim the tournament. In 2009, winning scorer Alcides Ghiggia was enshrined at the Maracana's Walk Of Fame. Ghiggia once said of his famous goal: "Only three people managed to silence the Maracana Stadium: the Pope, Frank Sinatra and I."

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Italy 3-2 Brazil, 1982
Brazilian Zico (#10) led probably the most hyped team not to win the World Cup, losing to an inspired Italian side backed by bruising defender Claudio Gentile (#5) and a hattrick from Paulo Rossi. Given less than a 19% chance of winning, the result was Italy's biggest upset in tournament history, according to Gracenote.

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Saudi Arabia 1-0 Belgium, 1994
Making their World Cup debut, the Saudis had already surpassed expectations with a 2-1 win over Morocco before improbably beating Belgium with a wondrous goal from Saeed Al-Owairan (pictured). Saudi entered the match with a less than 23% chance of winning, according to data analysts Gracenote. The loss still ranks as Belgium's most improbable in the World Cup.

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England 1-1 USA , 2010
Technically a tie -- not an upset -- but the Americans were once again foils to a favored England team.powergraphics.co.kr Goalkeeper Robert Green (pictured) misjudged an easy Clint Dempsey strike which proved fatal in South Africa. Finishing second in the group, England were pitted against Germany and lost 4-1, while the U.S.vanithatraders.com lost a thriller to Ghana 2-1.

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Photos:


Germany 7-1 Brazil, 2014
Perhaps not a huge upset, since the Brazilians were operating without injured star Neymar, but the result was certainly a shocker to the World Cup hosts. Brazilian defender Thiago Silva (right) -- who was suspended for the match -- consoled David Luiz after the final whistle in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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Underage gambling has become a growing concern in Kenya, enabled with mobile money and easy access to the internet.

Government spokesman Mwenda Njoka tells CNN that some youth have paid the ultimate price.

"We've had cases of children committing suicide after losing bets," he said.


"What is lacking is we need to have some counseling not just for the physical but for the mindset, for people who are addicted to gambling."

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Now, because of the internet, Njoka said, it's become difficult to control and manage to prevent underage people from betting.


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