AT 29, former Dynamos and CAPS United football star Archford ‘Uche’ Gutu should be at the prime of his career, but last week he announced his retirement from professional football.
This is a man, who simply disappeared from the football scene after his second stint at Dynamos back in 2019.
A press statement that he released to announce the end of a memorable football journey did not reveal much about his reasons for calling it quits, but reflected a man grateful for the life football has given him.
Yet his heart is breaking literally.
In an exclusive interview with this publication Uche revealed that an inherited heart problem was the major reason for his retirement from professional football.
“I announced my retirement from professional football last week and I’m actually a heart broken man and I have been for some time now. I stopped because of a family heart-related issue. My mother passed away because of heart problems and I have a heart condition. That's why I stopped football,” he said.
Gutu, who is the youngest player to don the Warriors jersey, also revealed that he was involved in a car accident, which also affected his health.
“It’s the first time revealing to the public about the heart issue. Only close friends and family know about it. I also had a car accident when I was driving home alone and the car overturned a couple of years back. I haven’t quite recovered from that,” Gutu said.
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An immensely talented central midfielder, Gutu is one of the few players to have lifted the league title with two of the traditional giants of Zimbabwe football Dynamos and CAPS United.
The player rose from the dusty streets of Mbare to become a household name in football in a career spanning close to a decade and half.
He grew up at Mbare Matapi Flats Block 5 and went to St. Peter’s Primary School and Cranborne Boys High School.
Football is the career that he dreamt about since he was a boy and it was the only thing he could do best.
He kicked off his football journey at A Team and Sprouting Academy before turning out for Dynamos and CAPS United as well as Swedish sides Kalmar FF and IFK Varnamo.
Gutu is happy with what he managed to achieve in his career.
“I am very happy with what I have achieved, winning the championship with two of the biggest teams in Zimbabwe, representing Zimbabwe at all levels and being the first Zimbabwean to play in Sweden,” he said.
“Just breakthrough to play in Europe was my dream and I believe everyone else dreams to play overseas. I won Cosafa Cup with U17 as captain, the U-20 and with the national team
“But I will forever be involved. Football is my passion, my life, that’s the other of many reasons I came up with an idea to have a football academy.”
In 2021 Uche established the Archford Gutu Football Academy based in Mt Pleasant, Harare, which is meant to help budding stars to realise their dream.
“It was formed at the end of the year in 2021 and the dream is to help boys and girls to achieve their footballing goals through AG Academy,” Gutu said.
Gutu says he has no regrets about his football career.
“I don’t have any regrets. Everything happens for a reason and I can safely say I have lived through my dreams through football. I am very happy with where football got me and it was all through hard work and praying. I was blessed to do that because to some people playing overseas will remain a dream,” he said.
In his official statement Gutu paid tribute to coaches such as one Sir Zhole, Lloyd Mutasa, Sunday and the late Misheck Chidzambwa, Rodwell Dhlakama and Nanne Bergstrand.