Boxer John Fisher Odoch went to Hungary last month as a potential hero, today he is a potential criminal, wanted, according to Uganda Boxing Federation president Moses Muhangi.
Odoch (picture inset) is now the 14th boxer to disappear from the national team abroad since 2016. Muhangi, who travelled with the team to the Aiba World Youth Boxing Championship in Budapest, Hungary, said the boxer was heading back to Kampala but left teammates Muhammad Mazida and Reagan Musoke at the Budapest International Airport.
Immediately, Muhangi said yesterday, that coach Patrick Lihanda alerted the airport officials who searched for the runaway boxer in vain.
Odoch and co lost instantly at the World Championship.
In a letter to the ministry of education and sports, the Criminal Investigations Department of the Jinja Road Police Station, the National Council of Sports, and several embassies of the countries where Odoch is expected to be hiding, Muhangi said they are not taking the matter lightly and have opened a case “SD REF: 43/03/09/2018 intending to involve Interpol to mount a search within the Schengen area.”
Muhangi calls Odoch, a senior five student at Bombo Army School an “illegal immigrant, who should be arrested, deported and taken to Luzira (prison) to serve as example.” However, Odoch’s Schengen visa is still valid until September 30, 2018, meaning he can still enjoy freedom in the Hungary, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, and the other 26 Schengen countries.
“We have talked against this vice but it only continues, now we want this boy to face the law such that others learn,” Muhangi said.
But how valid can the search be? Uganda athletes have it on their schedule to stay abroad, even before they board the plane. And when they succeed in the diaspora, Ugandans back home celebrate. Kassim Ouma, who disappeared in the US in the 90s, became a hero after winning a world title in 2004. Former national captain Sharif Bogere, who disappeared during the world championship in 2007, is now the most promising Ugandan in professional boxing under the famous Mayweather Promotions.