Onyango outlines his Sundowns ambitions
Mamelodi Sundowns has been the most prolific club recently in South Africa in producing talent for the overseas market with Percy Tau one of the best known recent exports.
Tau followed in the footsteps of the likes of Bafana Bafana midfielders Bongani Zungu and Keagan Dolly (both in France), and Zimbabwean international striker Nyasha Mushekwi (China).
Goal-minder, Denis Onyango, has however taken a different route and snubbed an opportunity to join the list of these talented players who are plying their trade abroad.
The best goalkeeper in Africa is a loyal kind and feels it’s time he paid Sundowns back for having faith in him.
“When you are playing, you must always have ambitions. Of course, it might be a little bit late for me to go to Europe but there’s been an opportunity for me to go and play in Arab countries. I just declined it. But everyone has to go and play somewhere else.
"I’m okay at Sundowns. I’m happy, they were there for me when I was not playing. They were helpful and they believed in me. I can’t just abandon them because I’m going to get $2000 in Asia.
"Why can’t I just stay here and finish my career around people who believed in me? Otherwise, every footballer dreams about playing in Europe,” the Ugandan international explained in an interview with Independent Media.
The 34-year-old is at the peak of his career. Onyango has made an enduring impact at Sundowns over the past six years.
“It is not easy because there are few African goalkeepers in Europe. But I believe that young people must aim high.
"The older you get, people start doubting you. I believe that maybe time is not on my side in terms of playing in Europe. But there will always be an opportunity for me to play, say, in Arab countries,” he said.
Onyango has won almost all the medals on offer on the domestic front. The only missing trophy in his list of accomplishments is the MTN8. On the continent he has captured the CAF Champions League and CAF Super Cup.
“The club has been with me during all the difficult times. When I lost my dad, when I had issues with my wife and son they were there. Why should I abandon the club? Relocating my wife and kids is going to be difficult, having been in South Africa for the past 10 to 14 years. It will be difficult to start afresh especially when I’m not going to stay long.
"I don’t think anyone will give me a five year contract - it might be two years. Why should I relocate because I want more money? I need my family to be comfortable as well,” Onyango explained.
The Brazilians are on course for a dream treble having already registered the Telkom Knockout crown in their trophy cabinet this season.
“Yes, we are looking to win all the cups that are on offer. We have to win one or two if not all. We are facing a difficult team in Bidvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup semi-final. They play very aggressive football. Wits are direct and they always give us problems. We have to be cautious when we face them.
"If we get to the final (of the Nedbank Cup) we stand a good chance to win it. We need to get Wits out of our way. Of course, we have to take one game at the time,” Onyango elaborated.
If the league is allowed to resume after the coronavirus-enforced break, Sundowns will face Wits in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup, the premier knockout competition in the country which offers entry to African club competition. On the league log, they are second.
“Hopefully, the league will resume soon. It is interesting as to who will win it. Wits still have a chance and Orlando Pirates are also in the race. The top four teams still have to play each other. (Log leaders Kaizer) Chiefs stand a good chance but they still have to play us and Wits twice and there are no guarantees.
"We are still on course to win three and we will challenge for all the three,” a confident Onyango said.