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Denis Onyango

Cranes Captain Onyango Retires From National Team

posted onApril 13, 2021

After making his mark on the national team, football star Denis Onyango has announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect.

In a message to his supporters, legendary Onyango noted that this was a sad day in his life knowing that he will never wear Ugandan uniform again.

"It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from international football. After much consideration, my family, managers and I, decided it was in my best interest to hang my gloves on my beloved Cranes 🇺🇬 Big thanks to every Ugandan over the years," Onyango said in a tweet.

In response to Onyango's tweet, the Senior Presidential Advisor for Special Operations Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba congratulated the football star for his contribution to the game.

"Congratulations Dennis for your outstanding performance with the national team over many years. You have inspired a future generation of young stars by example and commitment. The country is very proud of you!" Gen Kainerugaba said in a tweet.

Onyango currently plays for a South African team, Mamelodi Sundowns.

Born on May 15, 1985, he started his professional football career in 2004 with Sports Club Villa, 2005 he moved to South Africa and joined St. George SA, 2006-2010 Super sports United, 2010-2011 Mpumulanga Black Aces, 2011 Mamelodi Sundowns where he won the 2016 CAF Champions League and was named 2016 African based player of the year. 

He was also ranked among the 10 best goalkeepers in 2016 in the world by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.

He also helped Uganda qualify for the 2017 and 2019 African Cup of Nations. 

By the time of his retirement, Onyango had reportedly fallen out with top Federation of Uganda Football Authority officials.

Onyango's full retirement letter 

I sit here with tears rolling down my eyes because after a lengthy consideration I have come to the decision of retiring from international football with immediate effect.

It is a sad day in my life knowing that I will never wear the jersey of my beloved Cranes in front of passionate fans again. I will now become the number one supporter who wears the jersey watching from the stands or from home. It is through the Ugandan national team that I have grown from a boy into the man and father that I am now.

For all the success that I have enjoyed in my career, I owe so much of it to the national team. It was because of the national team that I got to play against all the best players from across the continent who play in top leagues all over the world. I played at the AFCON finals because of the Cranes. The joy of being at the AFCON finals after so many years was sweet. To sing my national anthem was the greatest joy that I will ever have being the ‘proud boy’ from Uganda that I am.

I didn’t want to retire but I felt it is better to leave good memories and allow for the younger goalkeepers to compete for that jersey which I have worn with pride for 16 years. Everyone who has worked with me knows how much I enjoyed playing for the national team. My commitment and hard work were never in question. To everyone that I worked with especially coach Micho (Milutin Sredojevic) thank you for the patience, understanding and wisdom that you brought to me. 

To my friends, management of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations, Nsambya FC and SC Villa, teammates, managers, coaches, I say thank you. My biggest appreciation is to the fans and all the people of Uganda. I love you all. Football can never be as beautiful as it is without fans. Nothing can ever be better than captaining your national team. It was real. Salute to every Ugandan.

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