Denis Onyango recieves award as CAF Player of the Year based in Africa. Credit: © Kawowo Sports | SEGUN OGUNFEYITIMI

Football fans in Uganda have voted current Uganda Cranes captain Denis Masinde Onyango as the country’s greatest football export, beating three former national team skippers.

The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper garnered the most votes in a contest against Magid Musisi, Ibrahim Sekagya and David Obua.

Since Ali Kitonsa became the first Ugandan player to ply his trade abroad after joining Egypt’s Zamalek in the 1960s, hundreds of players have gone on to play for foreign clubs.

How the shortlist was reached 

A Kawowo Sports panel provided a shortlist featuring players to have made an impact on foreign soil and then it selected what it considered stand out candidates with Obua, Musisi, Onyango and Sekagya on top.

In a twitter poll, Onyango got 47% of the total votes cast (715), followed by Ibrahim Sekagya 26%, Magid Musisi 18% and David Obua 9%.

From Facebook, Onyango got over 129 votes out of 319 cast, Magid Musisi got 108 while Sekagya got 56, and Obua got 14 with the rest giving opinions not on the list.

DISCUSSION | Who is Uganda's greatest football export in the game's history? Give reasons for your answer.

Posted by Kawowo Sports on Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Jackson Mayanja, Nestroy Kizito, Phillip Omondi and Charles Livingstone Mbabazi were some of the other mentioned names.

From Instagram, the voting almost reflected same pattern with Onyango, Musisi and Sekagya in that order. But there were also hints on Andrew Mukasa and Farouk Miya although the former never played football beyond borders.

Here are selected comments from both Facebook and Twitter by our readers explaining their choices

Bob Senyange -This is a tight one. Musisi was a great (UG’s Maradona), we used to carry bags with his name, though we did not watch him that much. Denis Obua was always a thorn in any defence, so much fun to watch. Ibra made u feel soccer was so easy to play, so calm with great vision and he positively influenced the other defenders. Ibra and Denis Obua were part of the most talented cranes squad I have watched, they were so unlucky not to qualify for the Afcon.

Onyango stands out coz of the accolades he has won. Besides the success, he is also a great soccer player

Mark Mugisha – Sekagya; his consistence, discipline and moreover captained a big club like Salzburg which is not an easy thing and after the career, became assistant coach at the same club. Kudos El Capitano. 

Tendo Nictor Musoke 1. Musisi… 1st Ugandan in Europe. Led Stade Rennes into Ligue 1 in 1993 and won the Best Foreign player award in France ahead of established stars like Abedi Pele and Gheorghe Weah.

Later on transferred to Turkey for over $1m and became a legend with a statue and stadium designed in his crocodile celebration

2. Ibra Sekagya, braved 5 years in Argentina before crossing to RB Salzburg which he captained to a local double and in Europe… that he stayed on in a coaching role after ending his career in New York Red Bull shows how much he was revered

3. Onyango, despite being African based, has scaled all imaginable heights in the PSL for over a decade

4. Nestroy was the least expected to flourish in Serbia among the lot that went there (Mukasa, Ssozi, Kayizzi and Ssepuuya) but he beat all odds and went on to win a league and cup with giants Partizan

5. I am split between Sulaiman Tenywa, David Obua and Mbabazi Livingstone because they all had no significant team titles but I can take the King (David) for his sheer popularity

6. Jackson Mayanja was just unlucky to be diagnosed with injury when he joined Esperance. The story would have probably been different now!

Mike Muhima – It was always Sekagya for me until Onyango won the Caf Champions League with Sundowns and named in the top 10 goalkeepers in the World back in 2016.

Fred Katende – My order of five would be Musisi, Sekagya, Nestroy, Onyango and Mayanja because they played in bigger leagues for a long time with big impact. 

Joachim Galiwango – Onyango has achieved much and raised our flag for a longer time as compared to the rest. However the contribution made by Sekagya, Obua and the Late Musisi can’t be underestimated more so in Europe.

Daniel Nuwamanya-Mategyero- It’s a close contest here but since this is a team sport, Onyango edges Obua. He won the African Player of the Year award as a goalie, won the champions league, a couple of ABSA league titles, took to back-to-back AFCON finals after a 40 year absence. He is by far the most decorated Ugandan sportsman. He deserves the Nalubaale medal.

Obua comes in second, he carried the Cranes on his shoulder, with a number of brilliant individual performances; he owned the South African league, and also played in top-flight European league. The problem though was that he was never consistent in club football.

Adide Dickson – Ibrahim Sekagya; He played in Argentina, UEFA Champions League with Red Bull Salzburg, then MLS in US and he is still active as an assistant manager. 

Kimuli Rony – Musisi; because he played in big clubs in Europe whereby the players of recent failed to make it and he stands to be the only Ugandan who ever played in one of the top 5 leagues (Ligue One) up to date. 

Etyang Brian Jonathan – Obua went on to play for Hearts in the team Scottish Premier League more so in the modern era.

Joseph Oliver Wani – Denis Onyango – reason is simple. Guiding the Cranes to Afcon twice. 

Joseph Lwanga – Onyango and Sekagya go head to head basing on what they have achieved at individual level but the appearances for Onyango at Afcon makes me go for him. 

Sentamu Rajabu e Kyamagwa – Denis Onyango because he was nominated among the three best African footballer of the year. 

Denis Batte – Onyango played in back to back Afcon finals and was two time African best goalkeeper and ever appeared in world’s top 10 goalkeepers.

Jude Kasozi – Sekagya went to Argentina, then to Red Bull and even became a coach over there so he is our greatest export ever.

Nkonge Rho’Bert – Majidu Musisi, growing up in the 90’s.. it was a common name in the kiswahili radio commentary! Every time I found a click of people listening to a live football commentary.

It all went from Majid Musisi… Majid Musisi namupiira… Goallll

Will Sseku – Has anyone ever heard of Philip Omondi? That is the best player Uganda has ever had. He is our Pele. Sadly during his time, exporting players wasn’t a big thing, his international sting happened late in his career! He ranks high on the list of best player in Africa. If you didn’t see him play, you missed.

Tonny Sebaala – Comparing the magic Magid Musisi with these others is disrespect to the legend.

Magid Musisi was the first and only Ugandan to have played in the French league 1; one of the top five leagues in the world.

He scored vital goals for Rennes and was selected as the best foreign player in the league beating some of Africa’s best stars of the time like Abed Pele and George Weah.

He was later sold to Turkish club Bursaspor and made wonders scoring goals for fun. His heroics in Turkey are still remembered up to now. RIP “Tyson” the great magic Magid Musisi.

Senior Staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering football

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