EXCLUSIVE | Denis Onyango reveals why goalkeepers are ignored for personal awards
Africa’s local-based Player on the Year reflects on his award following a triumphant season where he won the CAF Champions League, participated in the Club World Cup and reached the Africa Cup of Nations.
Speaking to KingFut, Onyango, who played a pivotal role in Uganda’s qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations after 39 years of absence said: “To be honest when I made the top three I was anticipating anything because making it all the way to the last three shows that people knew my abilities and they gave me a chance to compete against top players like Khama Billiat and Rainford Kalaba.
“I was optimistic because I was looking at what I have achieved the whole year and also helping Uganda to reach the group stages of World Cup Qualifiers and the other two players [Billiat and Kalaba] didn’t reach that stage,” Onyango explained.
Onyango has broken all kinds of records for Ugandan players. After lifting the CAF Champions League trophy with Sundowns, Denis Onyango then became the first player from Uganda to ever participate in the FIFA Club World Club.
In addition, no player from the Cranes has ever made it to the top three for a CAF Player of the Year award, let alone win one.
“It’s an honor to be the first Ugandan to win the award because we had great players before but they didn’t get a chance to win this award or be nominated, so for me it’s a great achievement and I really want to thank all my teammates at Sundowns and the Uganda national team,” continued the 31-year-old.
More interestingly though for Onyango, is becoming the first-ever African shot-stopper to win the local-based African Player of the Year accolade and thus writing his name in Uganda’s history books.
“I think sometimes goalkeepers are overlooked because most of the time it’s the strikers and midfielders who get the recognition because they are very skillful and entertain the supporters, but honestly the game can not start without the keepers so that’s how important we are as keepers and we are beginning to shine as well,” Onyango concluded.
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