Mamelodi Sundowns stopper Denis Onyango exultant over CAF award
Posted: 8 January 2017 Time: 18:43
Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango says that being awarded African Player of the Year at the CAF awards is imbued with extra significance in light of who he was competing against.
The Uganda international was nominated alongside TP Mazembe's Rainford Kalaba and Sundowns teammate Khama Billiat for the African-based iteration of the sought after accolade.
“It’s not easy to win such a big award. Being nominated among [Africa's] best like Khama Billiat and Rainford Kalaba makes this a great achievement,” Onyango told Saturday Star.
Onyango, who described the feeling of winning as 'fantastic', helped the Brazilians to both the Absa Premiership title and the CAF Champions League crown.
Those stellar showings for his club side were augmented by his exploits between the sticks for the Uganda Cranes as he insipred them to reach their first AFCON finals for half a century.
Onyango's national team performances, which did not receive that much press in South Africa, are in many people's estimation the reason he collected the CAF award.
The 31-year-old acknowledged both club and country as having played an intergral role in his recent success and applauded Downs for affording him the opportunity to showcase his talents.
“Big ups to them as well, my team Sundowns and the technical team for believing in me and giving me a chance to represent the club at the highest level," he said.
“I would also like to thank my national team, the Cranes, for helping me qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. This is a great achievement, but it wasn’t a one-man show.
“It was the entire Sundowns team, including the technical team and the other goalkeepers and also the national team.”