Uganda captain Dennis Onyango and vice-captain Hassan Wasswa Masawa have retired from international football following the Cranes’ failure to qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
The Cranes’ dream of making a third consecutive Afcon qualification went up in smoke after their 1-0 loss to Malawi’s Flames at Kamuzu Stadium on March 29.
Before the match, Onyango had told the media that the Cranes, who just needed a draw to qualify, were heading to Blantyre to finish the job.
But the Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper, rated the best on the continent by Confederation of African Football, was stunned by a 15th minute diving header from Baroka FC’s Richard Mbulu.
The imposing goalkeeper, who stands at 1.8 metres, has in a letter we have seen, decided to end his 16-year career with the Cranes.
The letter reads in part: “This letter represents my official notice of retirement from the Uganda National Football Team, The Cranes, effective April 12 2021.
“It has been a great pleasure and honour to represent my country and I will always appreciate the experience and knowledge that I have gained while playing for the Cranes.
“I believe that my notice period is sufficient enough for the technical team to adequately prepare my replacement for the upcoming matches.
“By remaining a true patriot and supporter of football in my beloved Uganda, I wish you all the best in your future endeavours and challenges.”
Onyango’ resignation comes barely days after his deputy for the last 13 years Masawa, also officially retired from Uganda Cranes duty on Friday.
Commenting on the resignations, soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said Uganda’s failure to qualify for the Afcon was a big blow.
He said: “That is how our colleagues take seriously Afcon qualification. If you fail, you take responsibility.”
Malawi finished as Group B runners-up behind leaders Burkina Faso while Uganda were third and South Sudan anchored the pool.