FOOTBALL | Uganda Cranes captain Denis Onyango is the best goalkeeper in Africa and there shouldn’t be any arguments about it, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has said.
Onyango was last week nominated for the CAF African Player of the Year prize and, along with former Sundowns team mate Percy Tau, will be a major contender for the continent-based accolade.
“Denis is number one in Africa, let’s be honest,” Mosimane said of the 33-year-old.
For a nation that takes pride in their own ahead of all else and at whatever cost, Mosimane’s bold approval of Onyango will come as a surprise to most South Africans regardless of the fact that he is the Ugandan’s coach at The Brazilians.
South Africa voted Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeepr Itumeleng Khune as the Absa Premiership Goalkeeper of the Season ahead of Onyango and Mosimane appears to understand exactly what this means.
“I am not talking about South Africa, I know it will be a problem. I am talking about Africa, continental football,” he said.
“In South Africa for Bafana Bafana, Itu is number one. If you pick Bafana Bafana there is no doubt. Once you play across the board, [African] Cup of Nations, Denis qualifies.”
Onyango captained Uganda to their second successive Nations Cup qualification without picking a ball from the back of his net. He remains the only goalkeeper yet to concede in the qualifier that has 48 countries.
“Crosses, physical presence, he is monster. He is a typical African goalkeeper. You need to tell me who is better. To be honest, who is better in Africa? Because I watch the Champions League, I watch everybody. You go to Esperance, Wydad, Al Ahly, Setif, you go on, Denis is number one in Africa,” Mosimane said.
The South African coach, who has helped fashion Mamelodi Sundowns into a giant with record eight Absa Premiership titles since the league was formed in 1996, believes his club custodian will win the African prize.
“I think if he is nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year he is going to win it and it’s not going to be the first time. Maybe it would be the first time a goalkeeper wins African Player of the Year.”
Onyango won the 2016 African Player of the Year-based in Africa prize at the CAF Awards in Nigeria and was named best goalkeeper on the tournament for the following year as well.
However, like the shock loss of the gong at Absa Premiership to Khune, even at home proper Onyango has been snubbed in the past, with Muhammed Shaban preferred by Fufa in a controversial award.