The federation boss pays tribute to the 35-year-old custodian who decided to call it quits from national team assignments
Federation of Uganda Football Association President Moses Magogo has revealed goalkeeper Denis Onyango had planned to quit playing for the national team, the Cranes after they had lost to Malawi in their final match of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Cranes were in need of a win against the Flames in their final Group B match to be assured of a place in the Afcon finals to be held in Cameroon but they suffered a 1-0 defeat courtesy of a Richard Mbulu strike.
The defeat ensured the Cranes will miss out on a third successive appearance in the competition and according to Magogo, it was after the defeat in Blantyre that Onyango, who finally announced his retirement on Monday, had planned to call it quits but was advised against the move.
“Denis [Onyango] wanted to announce his retirement in Malawi immediately after the game but was advised to hold on for better timing,” Magogo wrote on his Facebook page. “There was always not going to be the right timing for Denis to retire.”
The federation boss has further taken his time to pay tribute to the long-serving custodian, whose decision to quit ended a 16-year international career that saw him win 70 caps with the Cranes since 2005.
“Let us celebrate Uganda’s greatest goalkeeper ever, another icon of Ugandan football draws the curtains to such an illustrious career with the Uganda Cranes,” Magogo continued.
“Denis [Onyango] has been the best goalkeeper I have watched in the world. For those who follow, it is not the first time I am saying this.
“We have always been sure that there is Denis to carry the team when it needed the goalkeeper.
“He has been a great athlete, disciplined sportsman, and patriotic footballer. He has taken a choice to retire and we should celebrate him for the hard decision. If you asked me, he is one of those few players that should have stayed forever but we have to accept that players come and go. It is just human.”
Magogo further confirmed the federation will organize a testimonial match for the keeper for his dedicated services to the national team.
“Fufa took a decision to organise testimonial matches for national team players who retire after eight years of service or those that have put indelible marks to the team as decided by the Fufa executive,” Magogo added. “Definitely Onyango will have the option to take the testimonial match at the right timing.
“I wish Denis the best for the rest of his athletic football career and hope the game retains him to serve it in different capacities.”
Onyango, who turns out for Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, announced his international retirement on Monday just five days after another player – midfielder Hassan Wasswa – also quit playing for the Cranes, after his 13-year international career with 75 caps.