Obada off to a flier at United

2009-10-01 00:00

ONE player to have clearly benefited from the improved fitness regime at Maritzburg United, and already making his mark on the 2009/10 Premier Soccer League season, is the team’s aggressive little flier down the right wing, Nigerian Felix Obada.

Obada, still just 20 years old, has got his name on the scoresheet three times in eight games to be United’s joint-top scorer with Fadlu Davids. This is already just one goal short of the four the winger scored in an admittedly troubled campaign for relegated Thanda Royal Zulu last season.

United’s fans have taken to the exciting, lightning-quick Obada, who seems to beat defenders almost at will. And he endeared himself even more to his team’s new supporters with his spectacular somersault celebrations after scoring a last-minute equaliser in the 1-1 league draw against Lamontville Golden Arrows on Saturday.

Obada admits that his fitness as part of what appears a very well-conditioned United outfit has helped him improve his consistency in his performances.

“Before the season we did a lot of precise training with coach Gordon [Igesund], which put us in the sort of condition that can keep us running for the whole 90 minutes. Due to that I know I’m up to the task, even if it’s a 120-minute game.

“Playing from the flank, one of my strengths is that I am very fast, so out wide is the best place where my speed can be used and I’m really enjoying it there,” Obada said yesterday after a training session at the varsity sports fields.

During the session United, as they surely have been all week, were drilled by Igesund on the tactics they will employ to counter Pretoria giants Mamelodi Sundowns at Woodburn Stadium tomorrow night.

Obada puts much of the credit for his form down to the influence of United’s multi-title-winning coach. Igesund’s tactics have been positively chameleon-like this season and United have had a clearly distinctive approach to each game they have played.

This means the Team of Choice must also be a nightmare to prepare against as they vary from the sweeping attacks, employed in their victories against AmaZulu and Kaizer Chiefs, rush tactics in the opening draw against SuperSport United and stifling approach taken against Arrows.

“Before every game coach Gordon gives us the tactics and the technique we need for that particular team,” Obada explains. “The reason for my good form is that I keep instructions, which has led to me scoring consistently.

“The coach is tactically a top coach, so we really know what we have to do against each team in the PSL. I’m convinced we’ll be in the top eight by the end of the season if we keep to the coach’s instructions.”

It’s been a good start in that aim by United, and they have lost just twice, drawing four games and winning two to sit in seventh place.

When one considers Sundowns are in ninth place, having also won just twice, then the form book would appear to have sent any traditional notion of favourite and underdog status between the teams out the window.

“Maritzburg United as a club, we’re not really scared of any team,” Obada said. “We need to rely on our coach and use his instructions. So I don’t think Sundowns will be a threat to us.

“We’ve beaten Kaizer Chiefs already this season in a big game at Orlando Stadium, and the big teams have shown they are beatable.”

United will be out to register their first-ever victory against the Hristo Stoichkov-coached Sundowns. If they do, then an impish, slippery figure on their right-hand flank is sure to have played an influential role.

• Tickets for United-Sundowns available at Computicket, SuperSave in Retief Street, the club offices at 397 Victoria Road, Bhamjee’s Sports in Boschoff Street and the Recto offices in Hoosen Haffejee Street.

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