Cranes goalkeeper Denis Onyango retires from national team

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Uganda Cranes' shot stopper Denis Onyango; Courtesy Photo

Uganda Cranes first choice goalkeeper and captain Denis Masinde Onyango has announced his retirement from the national Football team.

In a letter dated April 12, 2021 that he sent to the president of Federation of Uganda’s Football Association (FUFA), Moses Magogo, Onyango said that his resignation takes effect immediately.

The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper who turns 36 this week, quits international football two weeks after the Cranes failed to qualify for the 2022 Afcon finals

“It has been a great pleasure and honour to represent my country and I will always appreciate the experience and knowledge that I have gained while playing for the Cranes,” Onyango said in the letter.

“By remaining a true patriot and supporter of football in my beloved Uganda, I wish all the best in your future endeavors and challenges,” the letter adds.

Onyango said he believes that his notice period is sufficient enough for the technical team to adequately prepare his replacement for the upcoming matches.

Onyango retires as the most decorated national football player in the country with over 80 international caps for the national team.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from international football,” Onyango posted on social media.

He will be remembered for helping Uganda to end almost four decades without appearing in the African Cup of Nations in 2017. Onyango was part of the Cranes that made an appearance in Gabon, before re-appearing in the AFCON finals in Egypt (2019).

During his time with the Cranes, he was named the African Footballer of the Year in 2016 and a three-time CAF XI goalkeeper.

Onyango’s retirement comes at a time when the Cranes have just failed to qualify for the AFCON 2021 campaign.

The shot stopper’s resignation also adds to a sense of crisis in the Cranes’ camp, following comments from FUFA president Magogo who accused players of playing “shitty” football in the CHAN competition.

In an audio recording that went viral on social media, a furious Onyango was heard threatening to resign, saying he is tired of working for selfish people.

In the audio, Onyango accused the FUFA president of embezzling funds meant for national team players’ emoluments.

Former Cranes midfielder, Sulaiman Mutyaba raised the alarm on the alleged malpractice in FUFA officials at Mengo-based sports headquarters.

Onyango’s retirement comes two days after Cranes vice captain, Hassan Wasswa on Saturday also announced he was resigning after serving the national team for 13 solid years.

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