The general consensus around town is that lady luck didn’t smile for Julius Ssekitoleko and that his plot to disappear at the Olympic games with an intention of staying in Japan to make ends meet suffered at still birth.
The weightlifter’s quest to join the long list of Ugandan athletes who have succeeded with the trick agonizingly failed to materialize.
There is indeed a litany of Ugandan sportsmen that have previously fled from different camps in international games and amongst these is boxer Nasir Bashir.
The-SportsNation has taken time to look at a number of those athletes that have managed to go AWOL and managed to successfully sustain it.
We commence with Bantamweight Champion Nasir Bashir who after loosing his fight in the 2018 Commonwealth games in Sydney Australia to Swaziland’s Zweli Dlamini at Oxenford studios decided to disappear together with fellow boxer Ssimbwa Reagan.
At the same event, tennis player Halima Nambozzo and two weighlifters Khalid Batuusa and Irene Kasubo also vanished from space, never to be seen again.
In his interaction with local media (something he hadn’t done in a long time), Nasir Bashir boldly highlighted the fact that he doesn’t hold any regreats for the decision.
“Life is steadily improving, i got a good job that pays me well and i feel greatful. I don’t regret the decision I took because at times you need to change a place for greener pastures,” said a blunt Nasir Bashir.
He would continue to narrate his ordeal saying:
“I represented Uganda in 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow Scotland and the government of Uganda only gave me 3M as allowances, in 2018 Commonwealth games they gave me 7M as government, that gave me a lesson that even if l fight till death while in Uganda I wont change my life financially”.
“We sweat, we give all we can to lift the Ugandan flag high as sportsmen and at the end of the day government officials sign for allowances and give us peanuts which left me with no option.” That revelation from the athlete epitomized the plight of Ugandan sportsmen.
When asked whether he had a plan of returning home, his response was this:
“I am in touch with my family in Uganda and on a daily basis i speak to my seven year old boy, my wife and mother all in Uganda.”
“I am hopeful that one day i will return home but first have to accomplish my mission why i remained in Australia and that is to look for money and change life.”
Among those that have gone missing in the last couple of years include;
Two Ugandan rugby sevens players, Benon Kizza and Philip Pariyo, that went missing after 2014 Glasgow CommonWealth games.
In 2017 three boxers that had represented Uganda in the world boxing Championship in Germany led by Muzamir Kakande(King Kong), David Ayiti and Geofrey Kakeeto also disappeared in Germany.
Three Ugandan rugby national team players Ramathan Govule, Brian Kikaawa and Fred Odur were not found at the team’s hotel in Gemany.
Five athletes also went missing after the 2018 common wealth games including Boxers Bashir Nasir and Regarn Simbwa and table tennis player Halima Nambozo vanished together with the two weighlifters Irene Kasuubo and Khalid Batuusa.
She Cranes player Halima Nakachwa also vanished in the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool England.
The trend has been maintained over the years and a paradigm shift shouldn’t be expected unless our remuneration structures are competitive enough hold them put.
The notion that whoever tries to escape will be ‘held liable’, is likely to be the worst and might discourage the many with talent to take part these sports disciplines.