Onyango rewarded with deal extension

Onyango has won everything in football. PHOTOS/COURTESY 

What you need to know:

This is the second time Sundowns are triggering a year’s contract extension to Onyango having done the same last year when his four-year deal had expired.

Couldn’t help but hum to Janet Jackson’s 1993 hit-song, That’s The Way Love Goes, when news of Denis Onyango getting yet another contract extension at Mamelodi Sundowns filtered through at the weekend.

“Come with me, don't you worry,” Michael Jackson’s young sister sang, “I'm gonna make you crazy.

“I'll give you the time of your life. I'm gonna take you places you've never been before, and you'll be so happy that you came. Ooh, I'm gonna take you there, ooh.”

The chorus is especially beautifully encapsulating. “That's the way love goes. That's the way love goes (That's the way love goes).” Oh yeah!

And 13 years on, the love story continues. Onyango and Sundowns have taken each to places they both had never been. And they are both so happy they came.

To honour the man for all his service, longevity and loyalty, South African giants, Sundowns, have handed him yet another contract extension that will see him mark his 40th birthday next May with the Masandawana.

“Yes,” Onyango briefly confirmed to this writer, “they have extended the one year option.”

Onyango (extreme right) is the most successful player in the PSL. 

This is the second time Sundowns are triggering a year’s contract extension to Onyango having done the same last year when his four-year deal had expired.

Onyango, the best goalkeeper at the club - if not the country - for a decade, but has since fallen in the pecking order with age catching up with him. 

South African captain, Ronwen Williams, is Sundowns number one for a couple of years now, with Onyango deputising.

Onyango’s greatness in context

Yet the big man’s greatness still hovers all over South Africa. Onyango is the most successful footballer ever to play in the Rainbow Nation.

The Ugandan has won 11 league titles, one Caf Champions League, a Caf Super Cup, African Football League, three Nedbank Cups, two Telkom Knockout gongs, and the MTN 8 for a total silverware collection of 20. 

Onyango is also the first goalkeeper to win an Africa-based Caf Player of the Year award in 2016.

He has appeared in several Caf XI and PSL XI teams, as well as played in the Fifa Club World Cup and helped Uganda end four decades of Afcon absence with the 2017 appearance in Gabon. 

Onyango captained Uganda at Egypt 2019 Afcon before retiring from national duty following the Cranes failure to make the 2021 Afcon finals tournament.

Uganda’s most successful footballer - at least by titles - has been in South Africa since 2006 when he joined SuperSport United from Ethiopia’s St George, and Sundowns since 2011. He is now identified as a local.

Former Cranes Captain Dennis Onyango during the unvieling of the  'Cranes Kabbo' campaign. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

Glimpse at the future

Fortunately, Onyango - who remains ambitious as ever - understands that the laws of nature are in action, and that this could be his last playing contract at the club.  

“As long as I'm still with Mamelodi Sundowns,” he told us in an earlier interview, “I will keep going and give my best when given the opportunity because the ambitions for the club are always high.

“So for me not to be playing (regularly) at the club now is not a crisis. Of course everyone wants to be on the pitch, but the coaches know better.

“They have to look at the future of the club. So I help the young goalkeepers by supporting them, and when given a chance to play, I should be ready and lead by example.”

Talks of retaining Onyango, who has started on his coaching badges, in the coaching department at the club have been whispered in recent years, and who says he hasn’t earned it?

Onyango's major club and individual accolades

🏆 11x PSL Champion

🏆 1x CAF Champions League

🏆 1x African Football League

🏆 1x CAF Super Cup

🏆 3x Telkom Cups

🏆 2x Nedbank Cups

🏆 1x MTN 8 Cup

🏆 1x African-based Player of the Year