Denis Onyango jumps high to collect a routine high ball during their game against South Sudan at St Mary's Stadium, Kitende (Credit: Edgar Hamala) Credit: Edgar Hamala

Uganda Cranes first choice goalkeeper and captain Denis Onyango has called upon his charges to double their efforts prior to the return leg against South Sudan on Monday,16th November 2020.

Onyango kept a clean sheet in a game he was largely untroubled as Uganda Cranes gritted their teeth to pip South Sudan 1-0 at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende.

The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper tagged the situation as being at half time, with another 90 minutes coming at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi against the same opposition.

It is still half time. We still have another match to make it the AFCON finals with a win. The ball is in our court. We need to seal it in Nairobi so that we do not prolong qualification.

Denis Onyango, Uganda Cranes captain

Uganda Cranes has 7 points from 3 matches and victory over South Sudan in Monday will book a berth for the CECAFA giants at the AFCON 2021 finals with two rounds to play.

About the South Sudan opponents, the gangly goalkeeper categorized them as a determined party.

“We played a very determined team. It is very difficult to play such teams. They were compact at the back. We put them a lot under of pressure and won it by experience. We want to qualify by Monday.” He added.

Denis Onyango during the limbering session at St Mary’s Stadium,Kitende prior to the South Sudan encounter

Impressive young players:

Onyango is happy about the Uganda Cranes young players who got the precious playing time in the match against South Sudan.

Right back Elvis Bwomono played his first ever competitive match in Uganda Cranes colours, starting ahead of the experienced Nicholas Wadada.

A couple of other young players introduced in the game included Allan Okello, Karim Watambala and the hero of the day, Halid Lwaliwa.

I am happy for the young boys who came in and played very good football. This is the future of the team.

Denis Onyango, Uganda Cranes captain

Artificial surface:

The 2016 African Footballer of the year, based in Africa hinted about the uncomfortability of playing on the artificial surface at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende, the venue picked by Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) because Mandela National Stadium was unavailable after being turned into a COVID-19 treatment and isolation center.

“The astro turf gave us a very hard time. Most of us have been accustomed to natural playing surfaces and the artificial grass gave us some hard times.” Onyango noted.

Onyango has played at two Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon (2017) and Egypt (2019).

He is among the most capped Uganda Cranes players currently active with 75 caps to his name since 2005.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. A win is no guarantee in Nairobi if Malawi can beat Burkina Faso.It means Uganda,Malawi or Burkina faso can qualify

Leave a comment

Please let us know what you think