Lwaliwa hopes to return stronger


It’s been a long half-year for Vipers and Uganda Cranes defender Halid Lwaliwa who suffered a knee injury during a national team regional tour game in Fort Portal on May 27, 2017.

The defender had surgery on his knee during the offseason and is expected to return to the field of play for the Venoms in the second round of the Uganda Premier League (UPL) that gets underway next week.

He plans on being better than he was a season ago now that he’s healthy.

“I actually feel like I’m getting a lot stronger because I have been gaining a lot more strength in rehab,” Lwaliwa said.

Adding; “I’m working on my legs, my knees and my core. So, I am taking this time and rehabilitating my body [with Vipers doctor Mathias Kasagga] and doing all this was good for me and it should pay off and impact the way I play when I come back fully.”

Kasagga developed the plan to get Lwaliwa back in l shape and make sure his knee is as strong as possible when he makes his return to the pitch.

“It’s something that you start small,” Kasagga said. “Fresh out of surgery you start with range of motion, pain management and muscle activation. Then just as it progresses you get into harder and more taxing exercises to really stress his knee and get him stronger.

“Once the [surgeon] cleared him to start to get back into football, we started working with the coaches on planning different drills he can do to keep himself in shape and try to simulate as much as we can.”

Lwaliwa had the surgery in late June. Kasagga said the player is on track with the timeline they initially planned for him.

He’s been able to get back on the pitch recently and is running, juggling the ball and post-up drills. His movement in the drills is smooth and he hasn’t lost his touch from down low.

If all three feel confidently about his knee, he will be cleared to fully return to action having participated in practices with other members of the team during the first round of the UPL. He will eventually return to game action.

Lwalilwa said working with Kasagga has been great and feels Kasagga really helped his recovery process.

“He’s a great guy, he pushes me and I think in this situation that’s what you need,” Lwaliwa said.

“You don’t need someone who’s going to baby you all the time. You need someone trying to get the best out of you. He pushed me to get better and I like his strategy, he puts time in it, he invests a lot of time in it and that makes me feel like I’m somebody.”

Head Coach Miguel Da Costa is excited to have the team back at full strength in time for the game against second half of the season.

“I think it will give us a big boost,” Miguel said. “Hopefully [he’ll] be back to full strength in our first game of the second round and he can withstand some foul trouble.”

Despite the injury, Halid still played an important role for Vipers last season.

Halid is excited to get back on the pitch. He will have to trust the work he did with Kasagga when he gets back into game action.

Defending can be one of the most physical areas on the field, but Lwaliwa knows Kasagga will make sure he’s ready to handle it before he gets put back on the pitch to partner Geoffrey Wasswa or Shafiq Bakaki.

“I’m looking forward to it; I’ve been waiting for so long,” Lwaliwa said.

“It’s been a long process but I’m happy everything has been working out fine. I’m just going to trust the work that doctor and I have done through this whole process. I believe in the system and we have done a lot of stuff to get me stronger so I’m just going to have confidence and go out there and play.”

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