Goalkeeper Denis Onyango will not be part of the Uganda Cranes training camp in Dubai.
The Cranes captain will not be with the team for the 9-day camp after his club Mamelodi Sundowns opted not to release him.
The reigning South African top flight champions sighted that Onyango would be subject to quarantine upon return to the club, that is if he joins the Cranes in Dubai, as the reason for their refuse to let him go out for the current international window.
The situation has prompted Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry to release a statement about the matter, echoing out the Cranes’ disappointment.
“We are very disappointed in Mamelodi Sundowns position regarding not releasing Denis Onyango for international duty during the October 2020 FIFA dates. McKinstry said as quoted by FUFA.co.ug.
“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”
It is understood that the Cranes’ officials tried to dialogue with Sundowns about the matter but the South African club refused to change their position regarding Onyango.
“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. The North Irishman continued in his statement.
“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.”
Onyango now joins Egyptian based striker Derrick Nsibambi on the list of players that will be absent for the trip.
Nsibambi’s absenteeism is as a result of an injury he sustained on Monday during his side’s (Smouha) loss to Zamalek in the Egyptian Premier League.
The Uganda Cranes are gearing up for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers double header against South Sudan.