Uganda Cranes captain and goalkeeper Denis Masinde Onyango has announced his retirement from the national team at the age of 35.
Onnyango’s official retirement comes a day after he aired discontent in an audio accusing Federation of Ugandan Football Association President Moses Hassim Magogo of swindling national team players’ money.
Also his announcement comes a few days after fellow serving teammate Hassan Wasswa officially retired from national football.
In his retirement letter, Onyango said “I sit here with tears rolling down my eyes because after a lengthy consideration I have come to the decision of retiring from international football with immediate effect.
“It is a sad day in my life knowing that I will never wear the jersey of my beloved Cranes in front of passionate fans again. I will now become the number one supporter who wears the jersey watching from the stands or from home. It is through the Ugandan national team that I have grown from a boy into the man and father that I am now.
“For all the success that I have enjoyed in my career I owe so much of it to the national team. It was because of my national team that I got to play against all the best players from across the continent who play in top leagues all over the world. I played at the AFCON finals because of the Cranes. The joy of being at the AFCON finals after so many years was sweet. To sing my national anthem was the greatest joy that I will ever have being the ‘proud boy’ from Uganda that I am.
I didn’t want to retire but I felt it is better to leave good memories and allow for the younger goalkeepers to compete for that jersey which I have worn with pride for 16 years. Everyone who has worked with me knows how much I enjoyed playing for the national team. My commitment and hard work were never in question. To everyone that I worked with especially coach Micho (Milutin Sredojevic) thank you for the patience, understanding and wisdom that you brought to me.
To my friends, management of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations, Nsambya FC and SC Villa, teammates, managers, coaches, I say thank you. My biggest appreciation is to the fans and all the people of Uganda. I love you all. Football can never be as beautiful as it is without fans. Nothing can ever be better than captaining your national team. It was real. Salute to every Ugandan.”
Onyango made his debut for the Cranes in 2005 World Cup qualifying match against Cape Verde. From then Onyango became a regular star for the Cranes
Onyango helped the Cranes qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations by conceding only two goals in six matches in their qualifying group.
He has captained the Uganda Cranes at two AFCON finals in 2017 Gabon and 2019 in Egypt. He has made 75 appearances for the Cranes.