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Time to look beyond the Golola brand


One word: Mediocrity. Yes, Ugandans can stick to the Cranes despite so much heartache on home soil largely because the soccer team takes us through momentous occasions of euphoria. It’s always that whenever we bottle it up, at least an opponent would have got it better than us in one way or the other. In short, Cranes have never been mediocre; they give us a reason to support them on home soil, especially with that six-year unbeaten record at Namboole Stadium.

The stakes, however, are too contrasting for Moses Golola. Having created a brand of his own and single-handedly lifted the hitherto unknown sport by its tethers to what we all cheer today, Golola indeed deserves the kudos. But praising second-best for what we pay for is not progressive at all. There is no excuse for a prize fighter to turn up and exhibit such feeble performance while knowing the Ugandans he talked into paying to watch him have some expectation of him.

That Golola fails the expectation of his fans and then goes ahead to ask them to stay by his side without even an apology is cheer arrogance. Sure, he has cut a knack for being verbose, but talking as a talent should not be paid for anywhere except in the theatre.

Golola certainly wasn’t wearing any circus outfit, but gloves and gum shield. Yet all he did apart from flexing his muscles and stretching his legs at 180 degrees was to fall at every attack Mate Zsamboki made. In the end, Ugandans were left wondering whether the man who brands himself with all sorts of ridiculous phrases is a fighter or just a fraudster smiling at their wallets.

Sure, Ugandans are cheer-givers. We have all those street children and churches blossoming, but the difference between the street child and Golola is that the former markets himself with an outstretched hand in a begging posture, while the latter is a sleek conman who plays with the psyche of his fans. It would be okay if he marketed himself as a comedian—he would still get the audience.

Golola wants the money more than fame. Had it been the latter, we would rank him with the likes of Ali Dia (football) and Maurice Flitcroft (golf), two of the most mindboggling sports fraudsters in history.

In 1996, Southampton manager Graeme Souness received a call from someone claiming to be Liberian soccer legend George Weah. ‘Weah’ told Souness his cousin was a chip off his old block. There was no YouTube or DVDs at the time, and with the Saints squad eaten by injury, Souness signed Dia. After only one training session and a cancelled reserve match, Dia, who was not even Liberian but French-Senegalese, was called to the bench for a Premier League game against Leeds United.

When Matt Le Tissier picked up an injury after half an hour, Dia was brought on and his headless-chicken performance quickly showed that someone had been pulling Souness’s leg. Taken off after three quarters of an hour, Dia turned up for some physio the next morning, left, and never returned. It turned out he was not a Senegal international, had never played for Paris Saint-Germain and that Weah didn’t have a clue who he was.

While golfer Maurice Flitcroft had seen golf open on TV and he thought it was a cool game, so he bought some mail order golf clubs.

He was determined to enter the Open Championship, and after realizing that he was unable to enter as an amateur because he couldn’t prove his handicap, he entered as a pro. His score, a 49-over-par round of 121, remains the worst in the record books.

So, just how much of Dia and Flitcroft are we seeing in Golola?