Denis Onyango focused on Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of clash against former employers Saint George
Posted: 9 May 2017 Time: 13:43
Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango admits he will need to put his emotions aside when they face Saint George of Ethiopia in the CAF Champions League.
Sundowns are through to the group stages of Africa's premier club cup competition where they find themselves in Group C, which contains previous winners AS Vita Club [DR Congo] and Esperance [Tunisia], as well as Ethiopian debutants Saint George.
Onyango, 31, who was yesterday named PSL Player of the Month for April, had a remarkable campaign last year as the helped the Brazilians win the CAF Champions League, while also helping Uganda qualify for this year’s African Nations Cup - the first time the country have achieved the feat in 38 years.
On the back of those performances and historic moments, Onyango was named CAF African-based Footballer of the Year in 2016 and also picked up the Ugandan Sports Press Association award for being an inspirational figure for both club and country.
And Onyango, who played for Saint George between 2005 and 2006 before signing for SuperSport United by Pitso Mosimane at the time, has also played against Ugandan side KCCA this year in the CAF Champions League preliminary stages but knows he will have to put sentiments aside when the teams lock horns this weekend.
"Yes, definitely [I’ll be facing my former club] and the [CAF] Champions League takes us back to a lot of countries," said Onyango.
"I went to Uganda, and playing [against] Saint George will be emotional but for me it is business as usual at all cost, because they used to be my employers but now I'm working at Sundowns, so it'll be good to go back [in the second leg] but we need to go back with a [positive] result because it's not easy to get results in the CAF [Champions League].”
Having won the Champions League last year, Onyango admits it will be a massive challenge in this year's competition because they are no longer the closed book they were last season.
"It becomes difficult because every time we play out there [in Africa] and now everyone knows what we can do," he said.
"We went to Uganda and they knew what we can do and it becomes difficult. What we need to do is to double our efforts to fight hard because everyone wants to beat us, so we'll need to fight."
On Wednesday, Sundowns will be hoping to keep their domestic league's hopes alive when they host Baroka FC at Lucas Moripe Stadium.