Everyone can say they were a decent player on the verge of becoming a pro.
If there’s no pictures, records, shirts, tweets, official statements or any scrap of evidence, is it possible to ever prove it?
Meet Nelly Yoa, the man who vows that he had trials for both Chelsea and QPR, nearly had a career with Melbourne Victory and even tried his hand as a professional Aussie Rules player.
But the intrigue doesn’t stop there.
Yoa was also attacked with a machete in Melbourne, has been accused of plagiarism and false brand partnerships, became an anti-gang campaigner and has even had his existence as a community voice questioned.
Ready? Let’s dive.
A cursory google search brings up pages of results of this ‘international man of mystery’ either denying claims he plucked several sports careers out of thin air or insisting he was not kicked out of awards evenings from said sports.
Everything is smoke and mirrors with most of the press in Australia saying one thing, while Yoa himself stresses his credentials.
The South Sudanese-Australian’s story started out with a supposed multi-million pound contract with Melbourne Victory, followed by trials at QPR and Chelsea in 2013… according to his LinkedIn page.
However, the only photo evidence of these moves are shots of Yoa at the Chelsea stadium and we are definitely not saying they look like they were taken on a stadium tour.
Yoa was apparently on the verge of breaking through at Melbourne Victory, only for a horrific machete attack to end his career early.
Nearly 30 men attacked Yoa’s friend at a beauty pageant in Melbourne in 2011 and he admirably jumped in to ‘stop his friend being beheaded’.
By putting himself in harm’s way he was hacked several times with the blade leaving him so badly injured he was unable to play football, wrecking his contract with the A-League club.
As a reminder there is little to no evidence that any of these trials or the contract were ever true, however pictures of the attack were published by the Daily Mail.
But clearly Yoa is absolutely certain that he is no football fraud.
Ever one to exaggerate his position Yoa’s web of half-truths is not reserved to his sporting career.
According to his Twitter account he is close friends with Usain Bolt and fellow sprinter John Steffensen, so close in fact he said the pair witnessed the birth of his child.
The duo have both denied any friendship with Yoa.
And he was recently pictured as an ‘invitee’ to an Aussie Rules gala despite security reportedly saying he hid in a toilet in a tuxedo before eventually being asked to leave.
Anyone who’s anyone knows that if you are going to claim that you are a big rolling sportsman then you need some brand partnerships to go with it.
Yoa would duly ‘promote’ several companies on his Twitter page, regularly thanking his ‘partners’ for extending his contract or working with him.
Deals with the likes of Nike (but he’s been pictured wearing Adidas sports jerseys), American Express Australia and Mercedes-Benz were all denied by the companies.
Anyone see a thread coming on?
Finally, Yoa’s star began rising when he was contacted by the government to help solve Melbourne’s gang problem after surviving the machete attack, having a profile as a promising football talent and claiming that he already worked with troubled youngsters in the area.
But even his involvement in community projects has been seriously questioned by the South Sudanese Community Association in Victoria’s spokesperson Richard Deng.
“He is putting a lie out there that he is trying to help young kids… He is just trying to help himself,” Deng said.
“Melbourne is very small when it comes to this community… how is no one aware of the work he says he is doing?”
In defence of his achievements, Yoa regularly hits back at his critics with a video of him training for an AFL club and a shaky nightlcub video of his good mate Usain.
This is Yoa’s world, we are all just living in it.
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