2017 Afcon: Denis Onyango Profile Top story

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In short
Qualifying for the 2017 African Cup of Nations Afcon is one of the greatest achievements for Uganda Cranes first choice goalkeeper Denis Onyango.

Qualifying for the 2017 African Cup of  Nations (Afcon) is one of the greatest achievements for Uganda Cranes first choice goalkeeper Denis Onyango.

"I can now retire from football one day with a lot of satisfaction that I helped my country qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations," Onyango told URN in an interview.

Born with three siblings, Onyango started his football career at Sharing Youth FC in the First Division and Nsambya FC before moving to SC Villa where he linked up with current Cranes coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic who was also making his first coaching appearance in the African continent.

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The short stopper who decided to join football because his family was struggling to put food on the table thanks God for the decision he made because he is now a professional footballer featuring for South Africa's ABSA Premier League Champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

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Onyango tells URN that although the national team has qualified for 2017 Afcon in Gabon, they will not be mere participants, but serious contestants when they battle in the group stage against Ghana, Mali and Egypt. "We are going to prove a point to the continent and also to try and represent our country and the Cecafa region well enough," he added.

Besides winning several Cecafa Senior Challenge Cups with the Cranes and trophies at club level with SC Villa, St. George (Ethiopia), Super Sport  and now Sundowns (South Africa), Onyango has also won several Awards and is now among players listed for the CAF African player of the year.

Apart from playing for SC Villa and Ethiopia's St. George, Onyango has also featured for South Africa's SuperSport United and Mpumalanga Black Aces.

After coming close to qualifying for the last two Afcon events when the Cranes failed to beat Kenya and Zambia respectively, Onyango feels this is the year he should be celebration most for all the achievements including guiding Sundowns to the CAF Champions League trophy. Onyango has been playing professional football for over 10 years.

Uganda Cranes goalkeepers' coach Fred Kajoba is all praise for Onyango who he calls the biggest gift to Ugandan football. "This guy is very hard working and is very very good in his department," adds Kajoba, a former national goalkeeper himself.