16 July 2018

Ugandan Engineer Leaves Mark At World Cup

Photo: Daily Monitor
Ugandan engineer Hassan Ssewajje, left, with the Daily Monitor's Mark Namanya in Russia.

Moscow — The curtains fell on the Fifa World Cup in Russia yesterday after the final match of the tournament, between France and Croatia, was played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow to determine the best team in the world.

There was joy for the winners and tears for the losers but for the 15,000 volunteers who have made the biggest sporting competition on earth a success, it was an emotional ending to what has been a surreal 50 days in the largest nation in the world.

Among them was Mr Hassan Ssewajje, a Ugandan civil engineering graduate trainee with Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), who has been in Moscow for close to two months doing his best to ensure the tournament is a success.

Mr Ssewajje, 25, applied online two years ago for a volunteering role at the Russia 2018 Fifa World Cup.

Although there were many other applicants from Uganda, he was the only one who was picked to the Local Organising Committee.

"I was throwing a stone in the bush when I applied," he recalled as he told Daily Monitor his journey from Kampala to Moscow.

"I liked the idea (of volunteering) but I did not believe I would make it because it was a rigorous application process."

The former Express, now Vipers-turned supporter, says the beginning in Moscow was a problem.

"The first two days were hell; the language was a challenge and settling in was not easy. But once I got through those two days, everything else became normal," he says.

Mr Ssewajje has been stationed at Luhzniki Stadium in Moscow all throughout the tournament and has enjoyed every moment of his stay in Russia.

"It has really been great. I have made new friends and expanded my network internationally. In fact, I also had an engineering opportunity here but my interest is to return home and work there for now," he says.

Although Mr Ssewajje is not paid for the work, he does not mind.

"I have seen that we have issues with sustainability designs of our stadiums, we do not care for the disabled at matches and likewise we do not sort waste in the best way possible," he says.

Mr Ssewajje says the T-shirts they have worn as volunteers have been manufactured from bottles collected from waste bins.

Memorable

His experience has allowed him to meet soccer greats like Diego Maradona but after serving as the Venue Eco Manager for Luzhniki Stadium, he can look back at the 2018 Fifa World Cup with nostalgic glee.

Uganda

Egypt Prepares 4mw Solar Power Project for Uganda's Renewable Energy

The business environment in Uganda is proving to be more conducive for investors with more investments lining up for a… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 The Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.