Mamelodi Sundowns have brought home the MTN8 Cup trophy after a dramatic penalty shootout at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday evening against Cape Town City.
After a 14 year wait, Masandawana have finally added the highly-contested MTN8 cup to their trophy cabinet at Chloorkop after an excellent display of confidence and determination from the team. Downs goalkeeper Denis Onyango was awarded with the Man of the match trophy after a heroic display on the night, with his great penalty saves leading Bafana Ba Style to glory.
“We do a lot of work behind the scenes, it’s the job of the analyst’s to give us the opposition’s penalty statistics delivered through the Goalkeeper coach. I had a chat with the coach just before the shootout, I knew a few of them and I had to use my instincts as well, but it’s a lot of work that we put in, you need to watch a lot of penalties [to understand] which foot they are going to use and how they stand and all these things.” said Onyango after the shootout.
The Ugandan international goalkeeper went on to express the significance of winning the Cup and made a reference to his jersey number as well.
“Every trophy is special but this one has been away for a very long time. Someone told me that I am lucky number 14 as my jersey number, it’s been 14 years since Sundowns won the MTN8 and probably the ‘football gods’ made it possible, but it was a good fight from the boys, we kept on believing even when we missed the first two penalties, we knew that we need to stay focused and until the last whistle.”
“I have to also rewarded the goalkeepers because they’ve been doing a great job, since the MTN8 tournament started Kennedy [Mweene] played and did well, Reeyad [Pieterse] did well and so did [Ricardo] Goss when he came on, so it was my chance to reward them and make it possible for the team to win the trophy. For me I think this was a good one for me because I’ve never won it, I’ve lost it a couple of times. “
Sundowns have won the majority of the domestic league accolades, adding the MTN8 trophy to their accomplishment solidifies their dominance and intentions in the new season, however more attention will be driven towards continental football. Onyango expressed the desire to conquer Africa and win the CAF Champions League again.
“Personally I want to win the CAF Champions League and that’s also the objective of the club. It’s a big thing to win the Champions League. I’d like to be the first Ugandan to win it twice so it’s the big one that we are really looking at, but we first have to collect the ones that are in front of us because they give us momentum going forward.”
Onyango concluded by thanking the supporters that were present at the stadium: ” We have really missed seeing our fans in the stadiums, it was amazing to see some of them back, of course it was not the numbers that we really wanted, but we need to follow the protocols.”
“For me, seeing the supporters, we had to reward them. We hope that we will see them in some time to come because football is beautiful with the supporters. The more that we vaccinate, the more we get more numbers in the stadiums. It was very beautiful to see them and to celebrate with them this magnificent trophy after 14 years.”