If Bokota was the Ujeneza

Bokota, Bogota, Bobota, Labama, Alabama, Kamana, these are the different pronunciations local football fans in the country have come up with all driving to one single name Labama Bokota.

Bokota, Bogota, Bobota, Labama, Alabama, Kamana, these are the different pronunciations local football fans in the country have come up with all driving to one single name Labama Bokota.

It’s not funny though, it sounds like it on the face of it but in actual sense, the name Bokota has caused what I would describe as a ‘mini-merry, merry atmosphere’ among the local football crazy communities.

Love him or hate him, Bokota, Bogota, Bobota [call him whatever you wish], with a record of scoring at least in every competitive football match he has featured in since his introduction to Rwandan football just over two months ago, is here to stay.

Actually, the whole excitement surrounding the Rayon Sports superstar and recently  adopted ‘son’ of Rwanda, reminds me the name of one Gatete [does anyone remember someone called Jimmy?].

Now, a near forgotten man, left in the limbo by both his club and national team, the name Jimmy Gatete became famous to the extent of being synonymous with Rwandan football, at least between 2003 and late 2005.

They [I mean whoever keenly followed football in this country that period] used to refer to him Imana Y’ibitego, loosely translated, as ‘god of goals’ just because of exploits on the football field. That’s as far as it went.

A lot more praise was heaped on the then APR superstar [no beef intended and with due respect to his records but he no longer is].

[God bless you Gatete, whatever you did for you country will forever make you a hero among your countrymen and women.]

Now, back to Bokota, Gatete did all he did, had his merry, marringy times with the local community and away far beyond the Rwandan boarders and now it appears like he has finally gotten a rival to his status [of being synonymous with the term goal-scorer].

Signed by Rayon as a little known striker from Kabisha Fc in Goma of the largely marginalized Eastern DR Congo, little did they know they were drafting a player who would become a darling of the entire nation instantly.

Fifteen goals 11 competitive matches for both club and national team put Bokota up there among the finest strikers to ever grace Rwandan football, at least that how I see it and if the current excitement surrounding his name is anything to go by, then I wouldn’t risking a hefty bet on him.

A true out and outright striker who among other advantages over Gatete and the rest of the other strikes we have played in Rwandan league and national team in the last decade, is very fast but above all, a team player.

You would not find him all over the field or involved in move but anytime he gets involved; he’s scoring, trying a short at goal or supplying those little deft final passes to the right person in the right position ready to score at the right moment.

This is the true Bokota [at least the one we’ve seen so far] and to say, so far as so good the way they like saying, it would not be an exaggeration.

Like all the other foreigners-turned-nationals so that they play for the Rwandan football national team, Bokota was ‘Rwandanised’ by the Kamana, whatever that means……

Each foreigner, Ferwafa and the Sports ministry target to play for the Amavubi Stars is given a Kinyarwanda name to go with his change of nationality, not a bad idea though the difference remains the same.  

No one can really tell what is in a name but most African names carry a meaning with them—it’s not uncommon for someone to do something in Africa and you find it is linked to his name, even when it’s quite clear everything is just by coincidence.

The first time I learnt Bokota has been baptized Kamana to ‘Rwandanize’ him was during the national team’s game with Liberia on Saturday at Amahoro stadium.

When he scored Amavubi’s first goal with a clinical finish off Saidi Abedi Makasi’s low pin-point cross from the left, one local sports journalist with whom we were seated together along with Ferwafa’s Jules Kalisa and Boniface Sabimana remarked, and I’m quoting, “If only Bokota was the one named Ujeneza.”

Like I said earlier, don’t ask me what Kamana means because I don’t but for Ujeneza, I was told it means, ‘one who came well.’

Amavubi already have Robert Ujeneza a.k.a Kolo, the Marine defender, former a Congolese, now a true Rwandan. By the way, Makasi also a Congolese-turned-Rwandan, others you know!

The remark, ‘If only Bokota was the Ujeneza’ interested me and pictured how it would sound like to have a man, because of incredible scoring record of 14 goals and overall contribution in all the 11 competitive matches, called Ujeneza.

Contact: nku78@yahoo.com