Ugandan player George Mandela has broken his silence since FIFA banned him for life for match-fixing early this month.
In a statement, the player, who turned out for Kakamega Homeboyz in the Kenyan topflight, denies ever fixing a match. He blames “immoral people” for conspiring to destroy his career.
“I have decided to wake up and fight for my rights because I really need to get back on the pitch. I don’t know any other job apart from football and therefore I can’t sit down and watch immoral people destroy my Career simply because am a foreigner,” said Mandela.
Mandela alongside three Kenyan players was banned by FIFA, the world’s football body, from all football-related activities for fixing league matches involving their former side Kakamega Homeboyz last year.
The Kenyans: Moses Chikati, Festus Okiring, and Festo Omukoto escaped with four-year bans each, while Mandela was handed a life ban.
Mandela, who before the ban was playing for Uganda’s Eastern Regional (equivalent of third division) club known as Gaddafi FC, denies ever involving himself in match manipulation.
Instead, he says that he was a victim of status as a foreigner.
“I have never involved myself into match-fixing as they stated but this came simply because we foreigners are always at fault in Kenya and just in case of any poor results we are the ones to be blamed. I really need your help fellow Ugandans.”
Mandela is yet to appeal the FIFA verdict but he tells Kahawa Tungu that he’s in the process of doing so.
“I’m yet to appeal but the process of doing so is ongoing.”