Yesterday (Thursday) night was a historical night for Uganda football lovers and followers as their national men soccer team the “Uganda Cranes” was voted the best team of the year, as well as their first choice goalkeeper who also plays professional football at South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundown Dennis Onyango scooped the player of the year based in Africa accolade at the Glo CAF Awards held at the International Conference Center in Abuja.
Onyango beat teammate and Zimbabwe forward Khama Billiat and Zambia and TP Mazembe’s midfielder Reinford Kalaba well as On the other hand Cranes beat DR Congo, Senegal, Nigeria U-23 and Guinea Bissau.
The experienced goalkeeper helped Cranes qualify for the AFCON finals (since 1978), won the league in South Africa, the Africa Champions league and also played at the FIFA World Club Championship while cranes played at the Chan Competition that where help in Rwanda (last year in January) as well as qualifying for the AFCON finals since 1978
Onyango, who was also named among the CAF best eleven, became the first goalkeeper to scoop the award designed to reward players who play on the continent.
Full list of Winners:
African Player of the Year – Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)
African Player of the Year – Based in Africa: Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
Women’s Player of the Year: Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Arsenal Ladies)
Most Promising Talent: Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City)
Youth Player of the Year: Alex Iwobi (Nigeria and Arsenal)
Coach of the Year: Pitso Mosimane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Club of the Year: Mamelodi Sundowns
National Team of the Year:Uganda
Women’s National Team of the Year:Nigeria
Referee of the Year: Bakary Papa Gassama
Football Leader of the Year: Manuel Lopes Nascimento, President of Guinea Bissau Football Federation
Legend Award: Laurent Pokou, Former player of Cote d’Ivoire and Emilienne MBANGO, Former player of Cameroon
Africa Finest XI
Goalkeeper: Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
Defenders: Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire & Paris Saint-Germain), Aymen Abdennour (Tunisia & Valencia), Eric Bailly (Cote d’Ivoire & Manchester United), Joyce Lomalisa (DR Congo & AS Vita)
Midfielders: Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns), Rainford Kalaba (Zambia & TP Mazembe), Keegan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)
Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Borussia Dortmund), Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)
Aymen Mathlouthi (Tunisia & Etoile du Sahel), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli), Salif Coulibaly (Mali & TP Mazembe), Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City), Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma), Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City), Alex Iwobi (Nigeria and Arsenal)