Football256
Africa Uganda Premier League

Can Vipers handle Innocent Wafula and his baggage?

Vipers finally unveiled Innocent Wafula on a three year deal for an undisclosed fee, the winger cum right back is a player the three time league holders have wanted to sign since August 2018.

“I am, of course, delighted and very proud to be joining Vipers SC. I’m very happy to be here and to be a Venom. I really felt that the club wanted me to come. I will give my best on the pitch, and hopefully be a very good player for this team,” he told the club website on Sunday.

Wafula was released by Gor Mahia in December 2018, the K’Ogalo CEO Lordvick Aduda telling soka.co.ke how the young midfielder was surplus to requirements at the club.

There are more stories to the main script of this talented player, especially about his true nationality.

For the time he spent in Kenya, it was always his word against that of the locals, he kept on insisting he is Kenyan much as the Kenyans also insisted he is Ugandan.

Wafula was born in Busia, on the Ugandan side of the boarder, despite possessing a Kenyan name and insists he is Kenyan. 

“The only controversy on him surrounds his nationality,” a source told Football-256.

“Everyone here (Kenya) believes he is Ugandan, he has never had a passport, and he’s never travelled for any international games involving Gor Mahia because of that, save for the CECAFA games,” the source added.

Innocent Wafula while playing for Kenyan giants Gor Mahia | Courtesy Photo

Actually Innocent Wafula has appeared at two CECAFA editions for Gor Mahia both in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. On both occasions, he has traveled using temporary documents.

Sometime back he refused a call-up to the Harambee Stars camp but when he eventually turned up, then coach Bobby Williamson dropped him because he didn’t have a passport. 

“You know it takes a week here (Kenya) to get a passport, the club (Gor Mahia) made all efforts to get him one but he was seemingly not interested. That raised the storm,” the source revealed. 

Our quest to find more about the Innocent Wafula mystery had another Kenyan source reveal similar scenarios.

“That man is strange, someday you will remember this. I hope he will finally acquire a passport,” we were told.

“Very strange, I’m not sure if anybody understands him and what he wants. We can say all good players are strange but Wafula is special in that case. Again, I hope he gets a passport.”

Another source told us: “(The) thing is Wafula has always claimed to be Kenyan which isn’t true. Getting a Kenyan passport means ‘deserting his roots’”

“The guy can get lost for weeks if you ask him for a passport, I think that’s why Gor Mahia didn’t bother signing him this time round.”

Innocent Wafula in his unveiling as a Vipers’ player at St Mary’s Stadium | Vipers Photo.

Wafula has a Kenyan national identification card but that doesn’t guarantee that he is Kenyan.

“He has a Kenyan ID but has vehemently refused to get a passport. He does not even talk, he simply vanishes for a few weeks the moment you ask for a passport, until you look for him.

By the way getting a Ugandan passport now would open some serious legal battle in Kenya, since it’s alleged he obtained a Kenyan ID falsely. That would put Gor Mahia in more serious trouble.

“They would be stripped some titles they won during his time at the club because they had more than five foreigners on their books.

“Because they knew he’s not Kenyan they were trying to avoid future problems by getting him a Kenyan passport, which didn’t work,” a source intimated to us.  

Competition rules in Kenya don’t allow teams to sign more than five foreigners.

With Vipers still involved in continental competitions, it’s not clear whether Wafula will finally own a passport and if it will be a Ugandan passport with efforts to get a Kenyan passport previously not being successful.

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