At one moment Hassan Wasswa was derided for growing so obese after deserting his football career for months to enjoy earthly pleasures. Not anymore.
Ahead of the Uganda Cranes AFCON encounter with Burkina Faso on Saturday, Wasswa is one of Milutin Micho Sredojevic’s reliable midfield options partly due to his reincarnation in Iraq.
The hard tackling midfielder missed the first round of the Uganda Premier League this season after falling out with SC Villa bosses and thus wasn’t considered in Cranes’ first two AFCON wins over Botswana and Comoros plus the World Cup double header against Togo last year.
His redemption came in form of a move to Iraqi side Al Shorta in December that has seen him regain his footballing shape and a recall to the national team.
“When I stepped foot in Bagdad, my new club bosses tagged a tough training regime for me in particular and it has paid off after dropping over 15 kilos. I now move faster and view things differently,” the dread-locked star told Monitor before the national team flew out on Thursday morning.
That’s not all, the 26-year old for KCCA FC and St George bullish midfielder has toned down on his hitherto happening life. “I’m now a responsible family man who is working had to maintain my slot at the national team and getting more lucrative professional offers. Life in Iraqi is not the best but at least it has given a new lease of life,” Wasswa added.
With Godfrey Baba Kizito out of the picture, Micho believes Cranes will not miss him due to the presence of Wasswa’s vast experience.
“After playing 10 games in the Iraqi league, Wasswa has guided his Al Shorta team into the country’s top eight super clubs with spirited displays.
Cranes need such battle hardened players to break the 38-year jinx,” said the 46-year-old Serb.
To his advantage, Wasswa can ably play in defensive midfield and at the heart of defense making him a must have jewelry. The father-son relationship between Micho and Wasswa can’t be underestimated in his revival after he admitted that the Serbian has always encouraged him to keep in action.