Mamelodi Sundowns’ Onyango: I quit Uganda’s Cranes to take care of my family

The burly custodian explains why he took the painful decision to quit playing for the national team after earning 70 caps

Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango has come out to explain the reasons he took the decision to retire from the Uganda national team.

The long-serving custodian confirmed on Tuesday he had quit playing for the national team, ending a 13-year international career which saw him earn 70 caps with the Cranes since 2005.

Onyango has explained family reasons made him take the painful decision and stated nothing will sway him to make an about-turn on the decision he took.

“It hasn’t been an easy decision to make, but after consultation with my family and my agent, I think I made the right decision and I already informed all parties involved that I am retiring from the national team,” Onyango told Daily Monitor.

“There is always going to be something, be it World Cup qualifiers, Afcon, or something else. I believe it is time to do so now, I also believe our national team is well covered on the goalkeeping position, and it is time to give the opportunity to the new guys.

“Last year, Covid-19 restrictions and new protocols took me away from my family for many days. As you know my club, Mamelodi Sundowns is competing on many fronts; league, cups, Caf Champion League.

“I just feel I need more rest between seasons and that is primarily the reason behind my decision to retire from the national team.”

On whether he had bid his teammates farewell after Uganda lost to Malawi 1-0 in Blantyre in a result that denied them a ticket to the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, Onyango said: “Yes I informed them as well as the technical team about my intention.

“However, I would never bid any farewells to the national team; neither to any of my colleagues. I will remain a true sportsman, real friend and I will always stay in contact with them. Always available to provide advice and support. It’s my country, my team, and will always remain that way.”

On whether he would reverse his decision to hang up gloves if talked to by Federation of Uganda Football Association president Moses Magogo, Onyango explained: “No, Engineer Magogo and Fufa have nothing to do with my decision.”

Onyango’s decision to quit the Cranes came just three days after midfielder Hassan Wasswa had also confirmed he was no longer interested to play for the national team after earning 75 caps.

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