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Hassan Wasswa announces retirement from Uganda Cranes

By Shafic Kiyaga
Former Uganda Cranes defender Hassan Wasswa | Courtesy photo

Defender Hassan Wasswa Mawanda has called time on his Uganda Cranes career by announcing his retirement from international football.

The 33-year-old has not featured for the Uganda Cranes since playimg in a friendly game against Ethiopia in what was Johnathan mcKinstry’s first game in charge in 2019.

He was an unused substitute for the AFCON qualifier against Malawi in November 2019.

Wasswa who had a bright career with the national team spanning over 13 years said that while the decision was hard for him, it is one he took with deep reflection and gratitude.

“Today is a difficult day for me, but it is also a day of reflection and gratitude. Playing for Cranes has been a tremendous honour,” Wasswa said in a statement.

“During my 13 years as a Cranes player, I’ve always pursued success and winning football games, while preparing and training with the highest standards of competition, passion and perseverance.”

“It has been an honour to represent my family, my teammates and the people of Uganda,” the statement added.

“With much sadness but without regret, I realize that I am no longer able to adhere to the unwavering standard of excellence that professional football demands. I say this with a heavy heart: I am retiring from the National team.”

“I love the game of football so much, and I know there is truly only one acceptable way to play. Knowing I can no longer compete at a level that I find acceptable, I have chosen to end my Cranes career.”

“This decision is mine alone, and although I know this will not bring me happiness, it is the right and honourable action to take at this time in my life. I cherished every moment of my time with the National team, and it has been such a blessing to play the game for as long as I have played.”

Wasswa’s statement continued: “Reflecting on my 13 years with the Cranes, and all that was required to reach my current situation, reminded me of the many people I owe humble, sincere gratitude.”

“My parents provided me with the perfect combination of love and discipline, and taught me what hard work and persistence truly are. All that I am, and everything I have done, is because of them.”

“Every time I put on that Cranes uniform, I have always strived to honour them and the principles they stand for, and I can only hope that I haven’t let them down.”

“The coaches I have learned from and played for as a Cranes player have been nothing short of outstanding. It was an absolute privilege to play for all of them, from Coach Lazio Csaba in 2006 to Coach Jonathan McKinstry during my final time.”

“All of the assistant coaches, and entire technical team were absolutely devoted to helping me perform to the best of my abilities. Thank you for your effort and dedication. It was an honour to play for you.”

“To my exceptional teammates, former and current, I owe you everything. I look forward to addressing you formally and privately at a later time, but please know that I love and respect all of you, and not having the opportunity to be around you is what will hurt most of all.”

“Forming friendships and unbreakable bonds of trust on the field is what makes football so special and so important to me.”

“When reminiscing on my Cranes career, I won’t think about games won or lost, but rather, I know I will think about you and the time we shared together, the trust and love we had for each other and the unwavering willingness we had to help each other succeed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“I thank Allah every day for all that He has given me: my family, my friends, my teammates and for making me Ugandan. Today, I would like to thank God for having been given an opportunity to play for Cranes, and for allowing me the privilege of a 13-year professional football career,” the statement concluded.

Wasswa started his national team career in 2006 and went on to garner 75 national caps including playing at the 2017 and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

He has been a journey man at club level, playing at 13 different clubs in nine countries across three continents.

Wasswa’s club career has seen him play at KCCA (Uganda), Saint George (Ethiopia) F.C Cape Town (South Africa) , Karabükspor (Turkey), Altay (Turkey), Kayseri Erciyesspor (Turkey), Đồng Nai F.C (Vietnam), SC Villa (Uganda) , Al-Shorta (Iraq), Vipers SC (Uganda), Al-Nejmeh (Lebanon), Tala’ea El Gaish (Egypt) and Al-Ittihad (UAE).

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