Onyango signs bumper contract extension with Sundowns

Onyango had a tough start to life with the Masandawanda, being limited to just five appearances in two years and sent on loan to Bidvest Wits. But he picked himself up firmly to become Africa's best goalkeeper.

SPORT | Uganda Cranes captain Denis Onyango has signed a four-and-a-half year contract extension with Absa Premiership giants Mamelodi Sundowns.

The Masandawana club announced the contract agreement on Monday evening but did not indicate the monetary specifics of the contract extension for the best goalkeeper in Africa — having been named in the Confederation of African Football’s Best XI.

“Mamelodi Sundowns and Denis Onyango agreed on a contract extension of four and a half years,” the club announced on its official website and social media handles.

Sendo Cleaners

Onyango was the only African based player in the star-studded XI.

This contract extension means that Onyango will spend more than a decade at the South African club he joined in 2011.

Onyango, 33, has won two Absa Premiership titles, Caf Champions League (2015/16) and Caf Super Cup (2016/17) since joining the club from Mpumalanga Black Aces in 2011.

Before joining Black Aces, Onyango won three consecutive titles with SuperSport United between 2007/08 and 2009/2010 seasons.

Sundowns are currently third on the league log, two points off leaders Bidvest Wits. The two clubs played a one-all draw on Saturday, a match in which Onyango left the pitch on the 76th minute clutching at his knees after a collision.

They play new hot shots Cape Town City on Wednesday hoping to win and assume leadership of the league as the battle for the title tilts to the final stretch.

Mr Safe Hands, as Uganda Cranes fans adoringly call Onyango, has also helped the national team qualify for 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypy without picking a ball from the back of the net. Uganda completes the Group L roaster in three weeks with a date in Dar es Salaam against Tanzania.

Tough start

Onyango’s start of life at the Masandawana was tumultuous. He faced stern competition from the Wayne Sandilands and Calvin Marlin, and in later years Zambian Kennedy Mweene.

The Ugandan keeper was limited to just five appearances for the Brazilians in two seasons.

Things got worse when he was sent out on loan to Bidvest Wits in 2013. But he did not let the challenges weigh down his shoulders, instead using it to build his career to become Sundown’s undisputed Number One.

He told New Age last year that his initial loan spells after joining Sundowns was the wake-up call he needed to become the goalkeeper he is today.

“Loans have a way of showing you the bigger picture. Of waking you from a slumber if you were not serious,” he said.

Today, Onyango says he works to repay Sundowns and his manager Pitso Mosimane for keeping faith in him despite seeing limited game time during his early days at the club.

“Pitso signed me after watching me for only one game. I had to repay him. Now I want to repay Sundowns for the two years that I was getting paid, but only played one match,” Onyango said.

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