Onyango Happy To Be In Africa’s Best 10

Mamelodi Sundowns’ goalkeeper Denis Onyango made the 10-man shortlist for the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Footballer of the Year award. The Brazilians’ and Uganda’s No. 1 has had a stellar season for both club and country.

He has been the rock in a Sundowns team that’s lost only once in the league this year and also helped Uganda qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for a second time in a row, with a game to spare. The top 10 also includes players like Sadio Mane of Senegal, Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Egyptian star Mohamed Salah.

“It’s fantastic being nominated for the third time in a row,” Onyango said. “It shows that I have done a great job with the club and the national team. It keeps me motivated as a player. I hope some players also get motivated to be in such a pool of great players in the continent. If you do well, you get recognised like the way I have been recognised. Obviously I haven’t won it, but being among the best in the continent is massive for me.”

The Ugandan is nursing a knee injury which has ruled him out of football for six to eight weeks. He could be back for the Nedbank Cup last 32 clash with Chippa United in the Chilli Boys’ backyard in late January. But coach Pitso Mosimane has ample cover in the goalkeeping department should Onyango not recover in time for that match. Mosimane speaks highly of Onyango who has served Sundowns with distinction.

“It gives me confidence when coach Pitso gives me such motivation and he praises me,” Onyango said. “But at the same time I must work hard and show that I am the best as he says. It keeps me on my toes because the people I work with – Reyaad (Pieterse), Thela (Ngobeni) and Kennedy (Mweene) push me to the limit. I must give my best all the time to be in goal. This makes me to be a better goalkeeper and better person.”

The Nedbank Cup will add to what is an already busy schedule for Sundowns who are also taking part in the CAF Champions League as well fighting to retain the Absa Premiership title they lifted in May. On Sunday Sundowns take on Al-Ahly Benghazi of Libya in Egypt in the first leg of their Caf Champions League first round tie. Sundowns are yet to taste defeat this season in the league even though they haven’t fully hit their strides.

“It’s a great feeling that we haven’t lost a game but we can’t say that we are happy with the position we are in,” Onyango said. “The other teams are still playing league games and they can go above us. If you have games in hand, it sometimes becomes a problem because the game pile up. Off course we haven’t lost but we also haven’t won that much. It’s a concern for us. We are trying our best to get the results. The moment we get on top of the table, we will be able to see how far we can go.”

14 Responses
  1. Bongani

    Keep up that good work bra n I wish you quick recovery in ur injury because we need you in that number 1 jearsy

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