Cape Town - Mamelodi
Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango believes Uganda's experiences at the
Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon could be of great benefit in the future.
The Cranes, taking part in their first continental showpiece in
39-years, play their final match of the tournament when they tackle Mali
With no points on the board in Group D, they will be going home no matter the result.
However, despite this, the east African side have acquitted
themselves well in Gabon, and made African powerhouses Ghana and Egypt
both work very hard for their 1-0 victories.
Onyango, who became the first goalkeeper to win CAF's Player of the
Year - Based in Africa award, and was also instrumental in Sundowns
winning the CAF Champions League, has managed to find several positives
from the Crane's campaign.
Not least of which is the fact that they will also face both Ghana and Egypt in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
The Pharaohs battled for their victory over Uganda on Saturday night,
surviving a spirited Cranes performance including a second half goal
which was ruled off-sides, before scoring an 89th minute winner.
The Black Stars failed to net against the Cranes in open play and needed a penalty from Andre Ayew to secure victory.
"This AFCON was good for the guys because we still have to play Ghana
and Egypt in the World Cup qualifiers," Onyango was quoted saying by
"We have seen the way they play the game and how tactical they are.
We believe this will help us in the coming games because we are playing
"It's very important for us to stay focused, who knows Uganda might
be at the World Cup. You must believe. Playing in the World Cup with the
national team is the only thing that's now missing from my career."
There has been talk that Uganda coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic is
set to replace Ghana boss Avram Grant after the Nations Cup, although
Onyango has pleaded for the former Orlando Pirates coach to stay.
"He brought us here after 39 years of trying a lot of different coaches who couldn't do this," said the 31-year-old.
"For me, he has done his part. We lacked experience here, which is
how we lost to Ghana and Egypt. We weren't outplayed. We held our own
against two good teams in Africa.
"He is the right man for the job, hopefully we keep him. But if he
moves on, that's part of football. I think that he has done well for
Onyango will be looking to play a crucial role for Sundowns when the league resumes with a fixture against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Dr Molemela Stadium on February 8.
Kick off is at 19:30.