Denis Onyango recalls his short stint with Yanga ahead of CAFCL showdown

Denis Onyango recalls his short stint with Yanga ahead of CAFCL showdown

Veteran Mamelodi Sundowns and former Ugandan international captain and goalkeeper Denis Onyango has recalled how he signed for Tanzanian giants Young Africans (Yanga) back in the day but never got to play for them in an official game.

Onyango was addressing Tanzanian journalists ahead of tonight’s (8pm) crunch CAF Champions League (CAFCL) quarterfinal first-leg encounter between Sundowns and Yanga at the Benjamin Mkapa stadium in Dar Es Salaam.

Onyango who came to SA to play for SuperSport United, is one of the longest-serving players at Sundowns and also a member of the 2016 CAFCL winning team.

"It's an honour to be here again in Tanzania because not a lot of people know that I didn't play for Yanga but I signed for Yanga couple of years back before I started my international journey all the way to Sundowns. So, for me, I feel like [I'm at] home but overall, I'm here to do a job, the team is here to do the job but of course to play under an incredible support that is being given to the team,” Onyango said.

“Yanga, of course we also won some supporters when we came here to play Bumamuru a couple of months back, so, I believe that Tanzania and South Africa at large will want a beautiful game tomorrow. I believe that the goals will be in and we hope that the goals will be for us, so, yeah, we're here, we're ready. We are playing a very good team with a lot of qualities and I believe that they're not here by accident, they've done well in the competition.

“They played last season in the Confederation Cup and they went all the way, they could have won it but of course that gave them a step forward to the Champions League. So, we know that we're playing a team which is very good, the experience, a lot of good players but we're also ready for a challenge because we were knocked out last season in the semifinal. So, the target is to go all the way to the final."

Sundowns come to this game as overwhelming favourites based on their performances in the group stages, where they won their group.

READ: Rulani Mokwena not taking successful Young Africans lightly

But Onyango doesn’t want to read too much into that favourite tag and see Yanga as an underdog.

"Well, football is not played on paper, especially in the AFCON, the so-called smaller teams have made it a little bit difficult for the bigger teams. We saw this in Ivory Coast where they lost 4-0 at home to an underdog,” Onyango added.

“So, for us every game is big, there's no underdogs, we are 11 against 11 on the pitch and it's every man for himself, we don't look at players individually, we look at the entire team. So, it's not about the underdog tag, we are all playing at the same level. So, we just need to do our job and try to get over the line."

Since winning the CAFCL in 2016, Sundowns has only been to the semifinals of this competition two times since then in 2019 and last year.

In Yanga, the Brazilians are meeting a team that finished as runners-up in the less prestigious CAF Confederation Cup last year.