Before football and all the other sports were taken away from us by COVID-19, the Uganda men’s football national team was gearing up for CHAN 2020.
A team that featured only local-based players had been in camp for two weeks as they hoped to be in fine shape for the CHAN finals that were to take place in Cameroon this month (April).
Among the players in camp was Vipers SC vice-captain Geofrey Wasswa.
The versatile players who has been troubled with injuries in the last couple of years was eyeing a spot in the final 23-man squad which was to be announced after the tri-nation pre-CHAN tournament at Namboole on 17th and 18th of March.
Featuring in the CHAN team set-up for the first time as he missed the qualifiers due to being in and out of the treatment room, was set to be challenging, after all, Wasswa was to work with the new technical team led by Johnathan McKinstry for the very first time.
However, the physically imposing Wasswa was loving every bit of it before it all came to a halt.
“First of all, i am extremely happy to have been summoned to the CHAN team, noted Wasswa when approached by PML Daily.
“It is a pleasure working with coach Johnathan McKinstry and his technical team. They are a good bunch and i do not have any problems with them.
“They give you very good training and i am sure we will be able to perform well in the upcoming tournaments and qualifiers.”
With COVID-19 slowly but steadily eating into the world and Africa being no exception, CHAN had to be postponed and pushed to a later date.
It was a huge disappointment for Wasswa and company who have been going the extra mile to make the cut for Cameroon 2020.
“It is sad that CHAN was postponed because they players were in a very good shape and they could have performed extremely well in Cameroon, Wasswa continued.
“Uganda has had several short-comings at the finals’ tournament and we were hoping that this is the time we finally seat on the table of men by reaching the last eight something that has not been achieved on all four previous occasions.”
Indeed the Cranes have bowed out from the group stage in all their first four appearances at the CHAN finals.
Their most notable performance came in South Africa 2014 where a certain Yunus Ssentamu scored three goals, strikes that were only good to ensure third spot in the group despite Uganda gathering four points.
In the last edition in Morocco, the Cranes failed to win a single game and once again finished third in their group with just a single point.
Wasswa and the other players are hell-bent on helping Uganda move at least one step ahead when the tournament is given the green light in the near future.
However, after a lengthy layoff and being in and out of his club side, the 21 year old has a lot to prove in terms of fitness but he claims he is all good to go.
“I now feel very ok and was ready to represent my nation at such a big tournament.
“Injuries are part of the game although at some point you feel it is too much especially when they keep coming to you.
“Thank God i am now good to go and i am working-out daily to ensure that when football resumes, i am in the best possible shape.”
Wasswa is on the verge of winning his second league title as Vipers SC sit four points above second placed KCCA FC with just five games to play.
He has been a mainstay in the side this season playing in a variety of positions.
This campaign alone, he has already played across the back four and in the midfield.
Asked about his best position, Wasswa was quick to note that he plays anywhere the coach wants him to play but center-back is where he feels more at home.
“Where i play depends on the coach. I am a footballer who is always ready to play and wherever the coach wants me to play, i just execute.
“During the last few days of the camp (Uganda Cranes), i used to train with midfielders although i was summoned as a defender.
“I am a central defender and that is where i feel more comfortable but like i said, i can play anywhere the coach wants me to.”
His versatility is a big bonus to Wasswa and he is one of the names that would have come a big surprise had he not appeared on the 23 man squad for CHAN 2020.
With injuries now in the past for him, it is only right to say that the ‘sky is the limit’ for the extremely talented defender.
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