Uganda captain Geofrey Massa has revealed that he and his teammates ‘forced’ Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango to play in their Nations Cup opener against Ghana on Tuesday despite fitness concerns.
Onyango impressed in the Cranes’ 1-0 defeat, making a series of fine stops to deny the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew and Christian Atsu.
However, he was undone from the spot in the 32nd minute when Dede fired home a penalty after Isaac Isinde had pulled down Asamoah Gyan in the box.
It was an unhappy outcome for a Onyango, who was one of the game’s outstanding individuals, particularly in light of the fact that he was playing with an injury.
“It was fab,” Uganda skipper and Baroka FC forward Massa told Goal, “the guy was injured, we forced him to play.
“We even told you guys that he was fit, we forced him to play and he had a good game.”
The powerful forward, who has featured for the likes of Jomo Cosmos, the University of Pretoria and Bloemfontein Celtic, also moved to absolve Onyango of any blame for the defeat and specifically, Ayew’s penalty.
“There was nothing he could do about that penalty,” the 30-year-old continued, “but we have to keep working as a team and see that we win on Saturday.”
Uganda meet Egypt, who drew 0-0 with Mali in their Nations Cup opener, in their second match in Port-Gentil on Saturday, before a showdown with Mali in Oyem in their final Group D fixture.
Onyango and the Cranes may have lost their Afcon opener, but such a quality performance on such a big scale will have come as a boost for the goalkeeper, who was criticised following his showings for Downs in their Club World Cup campaign.