Obada — it’s not about the venue

2010-11-19 00:00

THE venue is not the issue — what is important is for Maritzburg United to continue in the same fighting spirit as their last six unbeaten matches when they meet Orlando Pirates in Sunday’s Telkom Knockout semi-final at Chatsworth Stadium, says United right wing Felix Obada.

The semi-final, only United’s second in their existence having lost 1-0 to Pirates at Loftus in the 2006/07 Absa Cup last four, was moved from Harry Gwala Stadium due to safety reasons.

But Nigerian right-wing Obada says United will not be concentrating on the stadium they are playing in, but the task at hand when they aim to pull off a second successive Telkom giant-killing act against the Buccaneers, following their 2-0 defeat of Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarters.

Obada was part of the team that beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-2 at Chatsworth two seasons ago, and says there is no reason United can’t come up with a similar result against Pirates.

“Yeah sure, we did beat Chiefs there and also played Arrows there last season and got a draw,” the Nigerian said yesterday.

“It’s not about the stadium, it’s about the spirit that we show. We’ve played our last six games and haven’t lost, so we need to continue with that spirit on Sunday.

“Anything is possible. Sunderland beat Chelsea on the weekend. This season we have beaten Sundowns, who are top of the league, and drawn against Chiefs. We beat Pirates last season. So we definitely have a chance again in this semi-final.”

Sundowns struggled noticeably to get their expansive passing game going on a narrow pitch in the quarter-final defeat to United at Harry Gwala. The wider pitch at Chatsworth might favour Pirates, but as Obada says: “We have also played on wide pitches in our last six games and gotten good results, like our away win [in the Telkom first round] against Bloemfontein Celtic.”

United are a far more solid combination this campaign than they have been in past seasons. There is a feeling the PMB team still have something in reserve though.

Rudolf Bester has been in scintillating form in his past few games, but if attackers such as Obada, Musa Nyatama and Kurt Lentjies can get into full stride Bucs won’t be in for any Sunday afternoon stroll.

“Bester is our form man at the moment, and Diyo Sibisi has also been looking good in front of goal,” Obada said. “Lentjies is fully recovered from his injury now, and also available.

“So we have a full squad and should be a threat. There is room for improvement in the way we have been playing, but we also haven’t played that badly to go six matches unbeaten. And things will continue to improve as the season goes on.”

Pirates lost 3-1 to Chiefs in the league Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium on the weekend.

Chiefs play the first semi-final against Santos at the Rand Stadium on Saturday night.

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