Australia

Questions Over Sudanese Youth Claims

Melbourne’s South Sudanese community says a sportsman who called out violent “Sudanese gangs” doesn’t work in the community or represent it.

Nelly Yoa’s playing credentials are also under question after an English football club he allegedly spent five months with said there is no record of him.

Mr Yoa last week appeared in multiple media outlets commenting on a series of violent incidents in Melbourne, saying he mentored troubled Sudanese youth.

“I am furious – and in total disbelief – to hear our top cop and government officials say there are no Sudanese gangs in Melbourne,” he wrote in The Age on January 1.

But the South Sudanese Community Association’s Richard Deng said Mr Yoa wasn’t associated with the community.

“He is putting a lie out there that he is trying to help young kids,” Mr Deng told Fairfax media on Sunday.

“Melbourne is very small when it comes to this community… how is no one aware of the work he says he is doing?”

In February Mr Yoa told a local newspaper he took Usain Bolt to meet “Apex gang members” to inspire them.

Questions were also raised about his claims to have trialled for English soccer clubs Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers, leading Mr Yoa to threaten “slothful” journalists with legal action.

“I can confirm I did go on trials with both Chelsea and QPR. Confirm this with the club if you must,” he said on Twitter on Sunday.

QPR told AAP there were no records of Mr Yoa ever being at the club.

“Certainly no recollection of this and no records either,” a QPR spokesman told AAP.

Chelsea has also been contacted.

Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory refused to comment on Mr Yoa’s claims he had been on the cusp of signing “multi-million dollar contracts” with them.

It’s understood Mr Yoa trained twice with Collingwood’s VFL side in a bid to switch codes, before being cut.

He has also claimed he was the 2015 Indonesian Super Liga player of the year – but records show the league was abandoned in 2015 after just three games.

Mr Yoa has been contacted for comment, but on Twitter has threatened to sue media organisations for defamation.

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