Ex-Homeboyz midfielder contemplating appealing Fifa ban

Ex-Homeboyz midfielder contemplating appealing Fifa ban
CECIL ODONGO

By CECIL ODONGO
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Former Kakamega Homeboyz midfielder George Mandela is mulling an appeal for his four-year ban by world football governing body Fifa at the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland.

Mandela was banned for life on February 4 for his central role over a match-fixing scandal. His former teammates Festo Omukoto, Festus Okiring and Moses Chikati were also banned for four years for colluding in match-fixing in Kenyan Premier League matches.

The four players were plying their trade at Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Kakamega Homeboyz when claims of match-fixing involving their then coach Paul Nkata emerged.

Fifa said the formal disciplinary proceedings against the aforementioned individuals stemmed from an investigation into various KPL matches in 2019.

While pleading innocence, Mandela revealed he is yet to receive the report from Fifa and only learnt of the ban through the media.

“I feel my career has come to a halt yet I am innocent. I intend to appeal the decision though I still lack the resources to do so. It is sad that one can be crucified for match-fixing in a game played while I was in Uganda,” said Mandela in reference to Mathare United’s 3-2 victory over Homeboyz in a league match played on January 19 last year.

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The Ugandan said the ban has painted him as an unethical sportsperson, adding that his family has also been adversely affected.

“I heard that I was colluding with coach Nkata to fix matches. It later became evident that those allegations were not true and he (Nkata) was found to have committed no wrong yet, on my part, the ban is still in effect. This is wrong and justice has to be tendered,” Mandela told Nation Sport from his base in Kampala.

An emotional Mandela added that life has been too hard for him and he can barely feed his family and meet other basic needs. He promised to fight for justice so that his ban can be lifted and he goes back to the pitch.

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