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Denis Onyango hasnt allowed superstar status get to his head in Uganda – McKinstry

The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper, who took over from Geoffrey Massa, has been captain of the Cranes since 2017

Uganda’s newly-appointed head coach Johnny McKinstry has revealed Denis Onyango will continue as national team captain, a role he’s held since 2017.

Speaking to BBC Sport shortly after his first squad announcement, McKinstry praised the experienced shot-stopper.

“If I say experience first, people will say that he has no quality and if I say quality first, they might feel that I do not appreciate his experience but he comes with the full package,” McKinstry told BBC Sport.

“Denis as a footballer, his career, he is second to none. He has had an excellent career and he has justly gotten his rewards for that in terms of trophies and personal acknowledgements.

“He has obviously been the captain for the Cranes for a while now. Down at Mamelodi Sundowns, he is a leading light in the dressing room so I think that there is a lot more that Denis has to offer. I very much want him to be part of the success we achieve going forward.”

Onyango has been awarded the best goalkeeper in Africa award for the past three years, and he helped Uganda end a 39-year Africa Cup of Nations absence when they made it to the competition in Gabon in 2017.

The Cranes goalie then featured in this year’s finals in Egypt.

Furthermore, he’s been successful at club level, playing a prominent role in Sundowns’ Caf Champions League success in 2016. The feat saw him named Caf’s best African-based player.

McKinstry then spoke about Onyango’s continued humility in not letting the accolades and praise get to his head.

“I do not know Denis [at a personal level] yet but from the outside, he has not allowed that to get to his head,” he continued.

“Some people get personal recognition and they become a celebrity, a superstar, whereas for him, he has always used it as motivation to go again, to work harder.”

The Northern Irish coach has named only foreign-based players in his Uganda squad to play Ethiopia in Bahir Dar on October 13, owing to the local stars 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier against Burundi on October 18.

He’s been given a mandate of making sure the Cranes progress to a third successive Afcon while pushing for a first World Cup participation.

Uganda squad

Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Robert Odongkara (Horoya, Guinea)

Defenders: Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell, Scotland), Hassan Wasswa (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), Isaac Muleme (Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe), Murushid Juuko (Wydad Casablanca, Morocco), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam), Ronald Mukiibi Ddungu (Ostesunds, Sweden), Timothy Awany (Ashdod, Israel)

Midfielders: Abdu Lumala (Pyramids, Egypt), Allan Kyambadde (El Gouna, Egypt), Michael Azira (Chicago Fire, USA), Khalid Aucho (Misr El Makkasa, Egypt), Milton Karisa (Oujda, Morocco), Moses Opondo (Odense, Denmark), Tadeo Lwanga (Tanta, Egypt), William Luwagga Kizito (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazakhstan)

Strikers: Emmanuel Okwi (Al Ittihad, Egypt), Derrick Nsibambi (Smouha, Egypt), Patrick Henry Kaddu (RS Berkane, Morocco)

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