'No matter what, Samwel was smiling': Man who died in Wascana Lake remembered by football recruiter
REGINA -- Howie Zaron remembers Samwel Uko for his contagious smile and talent. As the Langley Rams head coach, Zaron recruited Samwel in late 2018 for the upcoming 2019 season.
“Samwel was more than a football player. This young man here, he had a smile that could light up a room,” said Zaron. “He always competed hard, no matter what. But the one thing that people need to know about Samwel is that he was a genuine good human being.”
Prior to joining the Langley Rams, Uke played for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Zaron said Uke opened up when he was in the football environment.
“He was a shy kind, but always very polite. And no matter what, Samwel was smiling,” said Zaron.
On Thursday, Regina police found a dead man in Wascana Lake. According to police, witnesses reported a man “swimming” in the lake, but he was no longer visible. Officers found clothing and a cell phone on the shore near where they believe the man went into the water.
The coroner is investigating the death. Police said there is no reason to believe the death is the result of criminal action. CTV News Regina confirmed with family it was Uke’s body found in Wascana Lake.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral costs. As of Tuesday afternoon, it has raised more than $10,000.
Andy Hanlen played football with Uko since they were 13 years old, and said he is still in shock about Uko’s death.
“He averaged about three or four touchdowns a game on us. As a football player, I think my perspective for him was he was a nightmare to play against, but amazing to play with,” said Hanlen.
Uko’s sister, Jasmin Uko, said the family is heartbroken.
“My brother actually had a good heart. He respects us and he’s kind to other people,” she said.