'Continental football opens up your brain'

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Onyango admits he did not take his football as seriously as he does now at Sundowns, compared to when he was out on loan to Mpumalanga Black Aces between 2010 and 2011.

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Playing on the continent has not only helped improve his game, but it has given the Ugandan goalkeeper a lot more exposure than before. He is being recognised regularly by CAF, most recently with his inclusion in the 2018 Africa Best XI team.

Coach Pitso Mosimane’s desire to consistently participate in the Champions League has opened a whole new way of thinking for his players and you can see it in the way they conduct themselves on the pitch.

The experience they gain is valuable and it helps them when they play for their countries. Onyango has helped Uganda qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on two consecutive occasions. 

“The Denis who was at Aces was more playing football for fun. But the Denis who is at Sundowns is playing football for a living and it’s a career for me. Things have changed, at Aces I was not playing continental football and at Sundowns they changed my mentality of playing football,” he said.

“Playing continental football opens up your brains and you see football in a different way. Those are the few things that have changed in my life.”

Sundowns, meanwhile, begin their Champions League Group A campaign against Nigerian side Lobi Stars at 18h00 tonight.

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