It takes courage, character, discipline, commitment and hard work to get back on your feet after any kind of setback.
But all the above must culminate into one if you are surrounded by people who only tell you ‘you will never be back to your best. No one gets operated on and they return to their best.’
Uganda Cranes defender Hassan Wasswa Dazo found himself in that situation the whole of 2017 and the better part of 2018.
Dazo had to undergo surgery in his left knee after suffering a grade one meniscus tear.
“First, I was scared that I might not come back because everyone told me you can’t play again after being operated on,” Dazo told www.football-256.com.
“I almost didn’t see a future ahead. Even the coaches at my club (KCCA FC) didn’t believe I was fully healed.”
The warrior in Dazo told him not to give up because it was just a matter of time that he would get back on his feet.
He was forced to google about the injury and some players who suffered the same but got back strong.
“I read about others around the world with the same kind of injury that’s when I read about players like Cristiano (Ronaldo) and Suarez (Luis). That’s when I knew I would get back if I kept the faith and hope,” he added.
Before surgery, Dazo was a main stay in Mike Mutebi’s team at KCCA FC, he actually played an integral role as the Lugogo side won the 2015/2016 League title.
He had started knocking on the doors of the national team the Cranes, having won the 2015 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Ethiopia.
He was also part of the Cranes team at the 2016 African Nations Championship in Rwanda.
Putting the criticism aside, the road to recovery was tough, but he was working with experienced doctors in Ivan Ssewanyana and Emmanuel Tusubiira at KCCA FC.
“Coming back is not easy, you need to be strong mentally and physically,” Dazo said before adding.
“I was lucky that I had good doctors around me like Ivan and Emmanuel, mostly Emma was there a lot in recovery.”
“They gave me a rehabilitation program which I followed to the dot because I wanted to heal and play football again.”
“Even when I got a setback with the knee, again, it’s Emma and Ivan who encouraged me to keep strong. And I kept the faith.”
Unfortunately for Dazo, his contract with KCCA FC expired before he would prove that he was completely fine and both parties decided to go separate ways.
“Most people think KCCA FC released me from my contract but that’s not true. My contract expired during my rehabilitation process and opted not to renew.”
Dazo’s road to recovery also involved appearances for Kampala Province in the FUFA Drum as he tried to gain match fitness.
That’s when he started getting offers from clubs like URA, SC Villa and the then yet to be known Wakiso Giants.
“Coach Kirya (Ibrahim) and his assistant called me and showed me the direction of Wakiso Giants. But because I had a number of offers I had to take my time.”
Sam Ssimbwa at URA wanted Dazo to do a trial for a full month before they could make up their mind about signing him.
Life at Villa seemed to be heading south and for a player trying to find his feet again, Dazo was skeptical.
“It took me about three months to make up my mind. That’s when I decided to join Wakiso whose offer was more like the same I had while at KCCA FC.
“But because also coach Kirya had a lot of faith and confidence in me, he gave me a lot of assurance about getting back to my best.
“The team is also professional with a lot of ambitions that made me want to put on that purple shirt, go out there and fight for it,” the former Express player said.
Since joining Wakiso Giants, Dazo has featured in all their Big League games apart from the last one against Nebbi Central through suspension.
Much as life at Wakiso Giants is what Dazo thought it would be, playing in the FUFA Big League has been a complete new life for the stout defender.
“I had never played in the Big League before, but its a very tough competition which can’t be handled by the faint hearted.”
“The league has so many challenges, the pitches are poor and the teams don’t play football the way it should be played.”
“But no challenge will stop us from working hard to achieve our qualification dream, we must qualify to the super division and that’s our ultimate target,” added the player who represented Uganda at the U20 and U23 levels before the senior national team.
Dazo’s football journey started at Lukuli Academy in the early 2000s and has also been at Uganda Youth Soccer Academy (UYSA).
While there, he played at a number of international youth tournaments like the Dana Cup, the Gothia Cup, Football Festival and the Vildbjerg Cup where he won the U16 and U17 categories on 2009 and 2010 respectively.
That’s when Kase Garage signed him before joining Express in the top flight and later KCCA FC.