As the international break nears with qualifying matches for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia about to take centre-stage on Saturday 7 October, Ugandan shot stopper Denis Onyango has revealed that he would love to get the opportunity to play at the showpiece event and emulate his boyhood hero German legend Oliver Khan.
The Mamelodi Sundowns player has kept three clean sheets for Uganda in four of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers to place the East African nation second in Group E, two points behind leaders Egypt. And dreams for a first ever World Cup appearance have started to become a reality.
Speaking to South African football portal KickOff.com, the 32 year old said, “I’ve never dreamt of being at a World Cup at any one stage, but you work hard and things happen by themselves. This is an opportunity and it is up to us to qualify. Working hard all this years will give us results by going to the World Cup,"
“I used to look at Oliver Khan when I was a young boy and would see how he would command the team well. He and Peter Schmeichel inspired me a lot growing up,” he said.
For Uganda to qualify, they need to win all their remaining matches against Ghana and Congo and hope that Egypt falter against the same opposition. Onyango predicts though that the qualifiers will go to the wire.
“It is still open (our group), I think it will go until the last game, but it’s important for us to win the game against Ghana at home and put pressure on Egypt because they are playing away to Ghana in the last game. Ghana won’t make it easy for them.
“So for us it is all about winning our remaining matches and see how far we can go because no one gave us a chance. We have surprised everyone,” he said.