Uganda Cranes captain Denis Onyango saluted the overall performance of the team in the 2-0 home victory over Malawi during the AFCON 2021 group B qualifier at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.

Emmanuel Arnold Okwi and Fahad Bayo scored in either halves to see the Cranes top group B ahead of the next round of qualifiers that will be played in August 2020.

In particular, Onyango singled out the team’s latest new members Fahad Bayo and Allan Okello.

Bayo started the game and lasted for the entire duration of the match whilst Okello was introduced for the final 23 minutes.

Addressing the media after the game, the team captain Onyango saluted the contribution of these two players.

It is good we have seen new young players to the team. Bayo made his senior team debut and performed. He took his opportunity and will gradually be an important player for the team.

Denis Onyango, Uganda Cranes Captain
David Isabirye | Kawowo Sports Allan Okello attempts to beat Peter Cholopi (Photo: John Batanudde)

Okello the future star:

For Okello, the team captain was impressed by the decision of the gaffer Johnathan McKinstry and the technical team made to give the KCCA Football Club youngster some minutes as he matures.

In fact, Onyango asserts that Okello will be fulcrum of play for the team in the tomorrow years.

The coach gave him (Allan Okello) the proper minutes and he used them well. Slowly by slowly, he will get used and become a key member of the team. Okello will surely be the star of the team as time goes on.

Denis Onyango, Uganda Cranes captain
David Isabirye | Kawowo Sports Denis Onyango addresses the media after the match (Photo: FUFA Media)

Too early to celebrate:

Onyango boldly notes that whereas it is good enough to keep clean sheets in two matches, it is still too early to celebrate qualification to AFCON 2021 finals.

We now have four points, it is still early to celebrate but it was important for the team to keep clean sheets. The next two games will be very important for us as we work towards securing qualification.

Denis Onyango, Uganda Cranes captain

Soldiering to serve:

Onyango elucidated on the key reasons among others which prompted him to continue serving the country diligently than retiring.

I am back here to serve my country. I had thought I would not be here (would have retired) but I revised the decision. We had lost the coach and as a captain, I could not just abandon the family.

Denis Onyango, Uganda Cranes captain
Edgar Kazibwe | Kawowo Sports Team captains Denis Onyango (second left) with the Malawian counterpart John Banda and the match officials prior to kick off

Uganda Cranes lead group B with four points from two matches (two goals difference).

Burkina Faso beat South Sudan 2-1 in Khartoum and are second on the log with the same number of points but with a goal difference.

Malawi who out-witted South Sudan in the opener remains on three points and South Sudan are bottom with two losses in two matches.

Uganda Cranes XI: Denis Onyango (GK, Captain), Nico Wakiro Wadada, Joseph Benson Ochaya,  Bevis Mugabi, Murushid Juuko (57’ Timothy Denis Awany), Khalid Aucho (81’ Tadeo Lwanga), Mike Azira, Faruku Miya, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, Fahad Bayo, William Luwagga Kizito (67’ Allan Okello)

Subs Not Used: Robert Odongkara (GK), Charles Lukwago (GK), Halid Lwaliwa, , William Kizito, Allan Kyambadde, Isaac Muleme, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Henry Patrick Kaddu

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