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Statement: Uganda Cranes coach not happy with Mamelodi Sundowns

Uganda Cranes coach Jonathan McKinstry is disappointed that captain Dennis Onyango will not be part of the team’s training camp in Dubai.

The captain was stopped from joining the rest of the team in camp with his club Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa citing several reasons.

Below is a statement from the coach regarding the matter.

We are very disappointed in Mamelodi Sundowns position regarding not releasing Denis Onyango for international duty during the October 2020 FIFA dates.

Whilst they have released other team members for international duty for their respective nations; they communicated to us on Monday of this week (2 weeks after receiving notification of invitation for the player) that they wished to keep Denis Onyango with them on the basis that he would have to quarantine upon return to South Africa.

As a national team we have been clear that we would not call players to this camp who would have to quarantine on return to their respective clubs. (Eg. Players based in Isreal and USA)

We asked Sundowns for evidence of the regulation regarding quarantine, and they were only able to provide information regarding tourists arriving in South Africa, and not residents as is the case for Denis Onyango.

Upon further checking on our side, the SA Government position would appear clear regarding any potential quarantine in that:

“Exceptions exist for business travellers with rare and critical skills, diplomats, investors, repatriated individuals and professional athletes. “

Despite all of this, and direct dialogue between myself (Head Coach), our national teams officer and staff from Sundowns, their position has remained the same.

At this point we must continue on with the camp so we maximise the benefit to all other members of the team.

We would like to state however that Denis Onyango has always been eager to join us in Dubai and we feel he has been put in a very difficult position by his employers. As such we attach no blame in this situation to the player who remains a key part of our plans for AFCON 2022 and World Cup 2022 qualification.

Mamelodi Sundowns are one of the leading clubs in Africa, and this situation, in our opinion differs greatly from the levels of professionalism we have come to expect from them over the years.

Johnathan McKinstry
Head Coach, Uganda Men’s National Team

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