Cranes midfielder retires from National team

"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."

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Uganda Cranes versatile player Hassan Wasswa Mawanda has announced he is retiring from the national team.

Wasswa who has over the years been employed by different coaches to play in various positions in a Cranes shirt, says he can no longer cope with the the current competition.
“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 honorable action to take at this time in my life,” Wasswa said.

The midfielder who has been at times used as defender during national team engagements, has in his thirteen years in Uganda colours represented the country at two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.

He was part of the team that made history in 2017 in Gabon as Uganda returned to Afcon finals after 40 years of absence.

He also played an integral part in the 2019 tournament in Egypt where the Cranes made it up to the last 16 under French coach Sebastian Desabre.

Wasswa revealed the news of his retirement through a statement he released on Friday via social media.

Verbatim
Today is a difficult day for me, but it is also a day of reflection and gratitude. Playing for Cranes has been a tremendous honor. 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 honor to represent my family, my teammates and the people of Uganda.

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 honorable 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. I anxiously look forward to next Cranes engagement, but this time with the sole focus of being a great fan.

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 honor 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 honor 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.

KAMPALA BUSINESS RADIO