Last week the The International Federation of Football History & Statistics’ (IFFHS) rating released a list of the top ranked goalkeepers in the world, there was one name that caught everyone’s eye on the african continent.
It was Uganda Cranes captain and Mamelodi Sundowns shot stopper Denis Onyango who was ranked 16th on a list led by Real Madrid and Belgian international Thibaut Courtois.
The journey has not been that easy for the former SC Villa custodian in Uganda and a 2018 CAF awards nominee, also the only goalkeeper on the list.
“Being ranked among the best goalkeepers in the world for the second time is humbling and great honour that keep me working hard as a person and as a goalkeeper,” Onyango told Football-256, he added.
“I have always worked hard and it has shown on the field of play and also being nominated by the best companies in the world that analyse football is something remarkable.”
Courtois is not the only goalkeeper on the list, Onyango is rubbing shoulders with with the like of Hugo Lloris ( France and Tottenham Hotspurs), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy and PSG), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica and Real Madrid) and Jan Oblak (Slovenia and Atletico Madrid)
The others are Marc André Ter Stegen (Germany and Barcelona), Allison Ramses Becker (Brazil and Liverpool, David De Gea (Spain and Manchester United), Danijel Subasic (Croatia and AS Monaco) and Manuel Neuer (Germany and Bayern Munich).
“Being ranked 16th is a huge statement to the world, of course I didn’t do it alone, I did with the effort from the national team and the club.”
“The’re so many quality goalkeepers in the world, but being among the best shows that I have done well and I have worked hard to earn it. I wanna take the opportunity to appreciate the people I have worked with for the time I am on top of my game,” he added.
Onyango has had a remarkable 2018, especially with the national team, who he guided to the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations for a second straight time and a seventh overall. He is yet to concede a goal in five outing and with a game to play.
“The coaches, players, and fellow goalkeepers I have worked with at club level and at the national team level. They have really made me one of the best in the world and it’s showing.”
“In Africa it shows I have done my homework, the goalkeeping coaches at Sundowns (coach Wenda) national team (coach Fred Kajoba) have been very good to me because they want me to be better everyday.
The 2016 African footballer of the year based in Africa picks out Cranes coach, Desabre Sebastien, his former coach Mullutin Sredejovic and current manager Pitso Mosimane as those that have kept him up there.
“It’s all about believing in me and coach Desabre, coach Micho, coach Pitso have turned me into a better person and better goalkeeper because of their words of encouragement and confidence” he said.
And like the saying goes, a candle losses nothing to light another candle, Onyango wants to discover more Onyangos using his story and journey and skills as a source of inspiration.
“That’s what I also want to be doing for youngsters, young goalkeepers out there, train, inspire, motivate them.”
“They should believe that if you work hard and get the results everything is possible in life. It’s not only about having the quality but also working hard and being dedicated to your work. And knowing that at the end of the day it will pay off like it has paid off for me.
“Not only financially but also being recognized as one of the best, it shows that when you work hard, you get rewarded,” he noted.
It’s believed that Onyango has already started taking goalkeeping courses in South Africa and will be enrolled in the Sundowns Academy to train coaches once he retires from the game.
Top 16 List
1. Thibaut Courtois – Belgium (Chelsea/ Real Madrid): 181 points
2. Hugo Lloris – France (Tottenham): 109 points
3. Gianluigi Buffon – Italy (Juventus/PSG): 59 points
4. Keylor Navas – Costa Rica (Real Madrid): 58 points
5. Jan Oblak – Slovenia (Atletico Madrid): 49 points
_ Marc André Ter Stegen – Germany (Barcelona): 49 points
7. Allison Ramses Becker – Brazil (Liverpool): 36 points
8. David De Gea – Spain (Manchester United): 33 points
9. Danijel Subasic – Croatia (AS Monaco): 23 points
10. Manuel Neuer – Germany (Bayern Munich): 20 points
11. Jordan Pickford – England (Everton): 11 points
12. Kasper Schmeichel – Denmark (Leicester City): 9 points
13. Ederson – Brazil (Manchester City): 6 points
14. Samir Handanovic – Slovenia (Inter Milan): 4 points
15. Franco Armami – Argentina ( River Plate): 3 points
16. Denis Onyango – Uganda (Mamelodi Sundowns):1 point