Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango has welcomed the news of the Absa Premiership champions' reinstatement to the CAF Champions League.
Just as Sundowns' players were about to go on holiday, on a high after winning the league in record style but still disappointed because their African dream was dashed twice, CAF gave them a lifeline.
CAF kicked out AS Vita from the group stage of the Champions League, replacing them with Sundowns for fielding a suspended player Idrissa Traore in the preliminary round against Mafunzo of Zanzibar.
In taking Vita's place, they were drawn with Enyimba, ES Setif and Zamalek in the group stage that starts on the weekend of 17-19 June.
That gives Sundowns just a couple of weeks to rest before starting their campaign. Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango isn't complaining, though.
"We are soldiers," he told Vodacom Soccer. "We need to keep playing football. That's what we chose. We can't complain that we're tired because this is what we wanted and we have been given a lifeline.
"Our pre-season will be playing in this tournament but that's better than sitting and watching other teams."
Onyango will balance Sundowns and Uganda in June as he looks to take his country to the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in over three decades. He will be buoyed by being voted as the best player in Uganda.
"It means a lot for me to be named as the best player in Uganda," Onyango added. "It was through hard work, mostly at my club Sundowns where we won two trophies and also the work I put in the national team.
"What makes this award mean more for me is because not a lot of goalkeepers are recognised and are given such awards.
"I managed to help the national team get to the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers and we are looking good to qualify for the AFCON. That on it's own gives me great joy."
CAF Champions League groups:
Zesco Utd (ZAM)
Al Ahly (EGY)
ASEC Mimosas (CIV)
Wydad Casablanca (MAR)
Entente Setif (ALG)
Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)