Uganda Cranes coach Mulitin “Micho’ Sredojevic has spoken out in defence of ‘AWOL’ KCCA FC midfielder Hassan Wasswa after he became the focus of criticism over his selection to Cranes’ 35 man squad for the upcoming 2015 AFCON qualifiers.
Even Wasswa must have been shocked to the marrow when he was summoned to the national team that is preparing to Madagascar.
The chief criticism levelled at him has been that he has not done anything on the pitch to justify his place in the team, besides, before CHAN finals in South Africa, Wasswa had last featured for his club in October but Micho says his experience is key if the Cranes are to reach their first ever AFCON finals since 1978.
However, he continues to be selected by Micho whilst spending most of his time partying and traversing beaches in lakeside town Entebbe.
“The strengths I see are the strengths that the technical team sees as well, because he’s one of the players I prefer to call the backbone of the team due to his experience. Denis Onyango, Tonny Mawejje, Geoffrey Massa, Andrew Mwesigwa and Hassan Wasswa are the most experienced players on the team,” Micho said Wednesday.
It should be noted that Hassan Wasswa is currently suspended by his club KCCA FC for matters of indiscipline and hasn’t played for the Lugogo side since October but Micho says he is no politician but coach so he has a right to call a player for national duty if he needs him and believes Wasswa’s experience will be key in the campaign even if he doesn’t play any part in the Madagascar game.
“I don’t think there’d be many people who would deny that he’s a talented footballer. He’s a very experienced player, very involved in the game.
“Unfortunately, because at the moment he’s not playing in any team doesn’t mean he is nolonger a national team player who has got a lot to offer. He (Wasswa) will have to work on his fitness because his experience is needed,” Micho said.
Wasswa who snoops have learnt was advised by Micho to start training with league side SC Victoria University, told Pepper Sport yesterday that he is ready to fight for his place in the new look Cranes side and deliver Uganda to the elusive Afcon finals; “I love Cranes and my club woes aside, I’ll play with the power and passion I have always expressed in the Uganda colours,” he vowed.
Meanwhile, the Serb who will kick start his first full qualifiers campaign also explained why left fullback Godfrey Walusimbi and striker Brian Umony didn’t make the squad.
“Walusimbi’s red card against Senegal in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers implies he can’t feature against Madagascar whilst Umony is injured,” Micho explained.
Micho has awarded a first call-up to young KCCA midfielder Kiwanuka Gaddafi and also kept faith with goalkeeper Denis Onyango, who has struggled to get playing time at his South African employers Wits University.
Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Wit University – South Africa), Robert Odongkara (St George – Ethiopia), Ismail Watenga (Vipers SC), Benjamin Ochan (SCVU)
Defenders: Andrew Mwesigwa (Ordabasy – Kazakhstan), Savio Kabugo (SCVU), Ochaya Joseph (Asante Kotoko), Alex Kakuba (FC Covilha), Isaac Muleme (SCVU), Denis Iguma (SCVU), Nicolas Wadada (Vipers SC), Joseph Owino (Simba SC – Tanzania), Isaac Isinde (St George – Ethiopia), Henry Kalungi (Richmond Kickers), Ivan Bukenya (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa),
Midfielders: Aucho Khalid (Gor Mahia), Geofrey Baba Kizito (Gor Mahia – Kenya), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Unattached), Gaddafi Kiwanuka (KCC), Kiziito Luwagga, Tonny Mawejje (Haugesund, Norway), Ivan Ntege (KCC), Allan Kyambadde (Express), Moses Oloya (Binh Doung, Vietnam), Martin Mutumba (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey), Brian Majwega (KCC, Uganda).