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"I am struggling a lot, because I am not playing," says Guthrie Zhokinyu. The former player of the Zimbabwean national team is banned for life, without a fair trial. Zhokinyi and FIFPro are desperately waiting for FIFA to take action against the sanctions taken by the Zimbabwean Football Association (ZIFA).

"I am the breadwinner of my family and my parents. I look after the whole family. I am the one who can make our family well..."

Guthrie Zhokinyu is a 30-year old football player. A good one. He played for one of Zimbabwe's finest sides, Dynamos FC, and has also made 13 appearances for the national team since 2008.

Now his whole life is a shambles. Tears are in his eyes, as he speaks with a fragile voice. He is waiting for a solution to the difficult situation he is trapped in. Not because he made a mistake. No, he is in despair due to the scandalous behavior of the Zimbabwean Football Association and the lack of support from FIFA.

Trouble started in December 2009. Zhokinyi was the captain of the squad that participated in the Cecafa Tournament, a tournament for countries in East and Central Africa, which was staged in Kenya. "I was approached when we were to play the quarter final game against Rwanda', he recalls. Some men came up to his room and ordered Zhokinyu to lose the game 6-0. "Then you get something in your pocket", Zhokinyu was told. The men "advised" him to arrange two or three other players to assist in conceding the six goals.

"I cannot do that", Zhokinyu replied. He did not want to betray himself, his family, his team-mates, his country. "I was shocked. I had never seen such things."

Zhokinyu informed all his team-mates. "We agreed not to sell the game, but to play a clean game." Zimbabwe lost 4-1.

Later ZIFA found out that in 2007 and 2009 the Zimbabwean national team had organised tours of Asia, where it played fixed matches. The Cecafa matches in Kenya were also part of the investigation. In the end, ZIFA sentenced 98 players, administrators and officials.

To his surprise Zhokinyu learned that he was sanctioned. "I heard from the media that I was suspended for life. The official suspension letter came later."

Zhokinyu's ban is all the more stunning because there had been no (fair) legal trial. "I was never called before the Disciplinary Committee. Never."

"They just said: You were the captain, you were the leader. I was supposed to tell the players: 'You must not play the game'. "

"I am not guilty," Zhokinyu says. "The Head of Delegation knew that we were approached and that we turned down the offer."

"All the players were suspended." The Head of Delegation was not suspended.

Appeal was unaffordable, as the FA demanded an Appeals fee of USD 6,000, while an average salary in the Zimbabwean Premier League is USD 150 to USD 400 per month. "Every letter we sent to ZIFA, they responded with the same answer: "We need USD 6,000 for an appeal"."

Zhokinyu has not played for more than a year. He even contemplated moving to South Africa, as FIFA until now has not extended the ban as a worldwide ban.

And here Guthrie Zhokinyu is. In a room, trying to tell his story. Once the proud captain of the Zimbabwean national team. Now a broken man ...

"ZIFA has pushed me into a corner. I do now feel out of football. I implore FUZ (the footballers union of Zimbabwe) and FIFPro to help me get FIFA to come up with the final judgment, because it has now been more than a year."

"I am struggling a lot..."

 

Click here to read: FIFA needs to show up for Zimbabwe players