© Muzi Ntombela - BackpagePixAuthor: Dumisani KoyanaWell-respected South African journalist and football commentator, Mark Gleeson, once called Brian Mandela Onyango the ‘Big Block Unit’. Rightly so, the Kenyan defender has impressed beyond expectations since arriving at Mamelodi Sundowns in 2020.A physically strong player, Onyango has been widely lauded for his quick thinking, innate ability to read the game, remarkable composure on the ball and amazing ball distribution.

Onyango’s stamina coupled with his unmatched strength has made him a force to be reckoned with in the Premier Soccer League.
The 27-year-old defender who was a vital cog in the domestic-treble-winning-side described what the season meant for him.

“It was a great season for the team as we extended our dominance in South African football. We showed our class throughout the season and the plan for the next campaign begins now. We are not resting on our laurels because, at Sundowns, we never stop pushing for the ultimate prize,” Onyango told the Mamelodi Sundowns Digital Magazine crew.
Brian Onyango during the CAF Champions League campaign© Muzi Ntombela - BackpagePixAs an African who occupies one of the five foreign spots within the Sundowns squad, Onyango spoke about his love for the continent and its dynamic diversity.

“As a Kenyan, I have enjoyed my time so far at Sundowns, thanks to the diversity of the players within the camp. I have had the privilege of interacting with several players from Africa and beyond. We have players from Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Uruguay, and so on. I am proud of being African because the continent is so unique due to the variety of languages, cuisines and clothing,” the Kenyan stated.

Off the field, Onyango is often described as a jovial and fun-loving guy who thrives on the positive energy of folks around him.
Brian Onyango during a press conference for the CAF Champions League© Ampe Rogerio - BackpagePixMamelodi Sundowns (MS):
Who are your sports heroes and what have you learned from them?

Brian Onyango (BO): My heroes are my compatriots Musa Otieno and Victor Wanyama. I admire them for their determination which propelled them to the peak of their prowess.
MS: What are the most important factors that have contributed to your success as a soccer player?
BO: There are many factors that have helped to achieve my dreams of becoming a footballer. I am a big advocate of discipline and dedication. Success is almost guaranteed by the presence of these factors.
MS: What do you do during your free time?
BO: Very interesting question. I love to watch Television Series and relax. I like to explore different movies as they improve my knowledge of current and historical affairs.
MS: Who made you fall in love with soccer and for how long have you been playing the game?
BO: My elder brother first introduced me to football. I started playing at the tender age of 10 and I have not had any regrets about dedicating my life to playing the Beautiful Game.
MS: Other than Mamelodi Sundowns, which other football club excites you the most?
BO: It has to be Real Madrid. Their historical exploits in the UEFA Champions League cannot be ignored. They have dominated the Champions League like we have dominated the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
MS: How do you deal with all the fame that accompanies being a star?
BO: Playing for a football club as big as Mamelodi Sundowns puts you in the spotlight. Being humble and appreciative works for me.
MS: What has been your lowest moment in professional football?
BO: My worst moment was when I sustained an injury a week before the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt kicked off. It was a terrible moment and I will never forget the pain that I went through.
MS: How do you react after a defeat?
BO: It is always a time to reflect whenever we lose a game. I watch the game on repeat and analyse the various aspects of the match where I personally could have improved on.
Although Brian Onyango may not have been at the club for as long as his namesake, Denis, he remains one of the most vibrant personalities in the dressing room and on the pitch.Possessing an influential middle name like ‘Mandela’ comes with huge expectations. Thus far, Brian has blossomed and has never shied away from putting his body on the line.