July 5, 2022

Obua’s tale of South African giants scrambling for his signature

By Allan Damba
David Obua of the Kaizer Chiefs in action during the pre-season friendly Vodacom Challenge match against the Orlando Pirates at Royal Bafonkeng Stadium July 20, 2006 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Touchline/Getty Images)

Uganda Cranes legend David Obua’s name has for years been a household honorific, for the star that he shined extra bright.

Whereas many believe he is Uganda’s biggest footballing export ever, others chew over him being the best player to don the Cranes jersey.

Kick-starting his career at Police FC in 1999, the boy was destined for greatness. He, later on, went to the United States to pursue his tertiary education after getting a scholarship.

After stints of semi-professional football in the United States and Mauritius, Obua settled for his beloved, Express FC back in Uganda in 2003 – his second spell.

His two hugely successful years at Wankulukuku (2003-2005) and impressive displays with the Cranes, earned him big-time admirations from all over the continent, particularly in South Africa.

“There were offers put on the table,” the 38-year-old revealed as quoted by allAfrica.com.

After Uganda’s 2-1 defeat to the Bafana Bafana at the FNB Stadium in the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers in 2005, the scramble between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs intensified.

“It was crazy, (Orlando) Pirates were aggressive. They were like, ‘We have the contract copy here, you sign we give you this money.”

“I said no, I have just played the game. I am tired. I had to go back upstairs to my room because these guys were calling.”

He then adds on how then Uganda Cranes head coach Muhamed Abbas helped him slap off the Pirates offers.

“The coach (for Uganda) was Mohamed Abbas, an Egyptian, so he told me: ‘David, go up in your room and lock yourself up. If these people need you, they will find you in Uganda,'” he added.

In the end, it’s Kaizer Chiefs that won the signature of the then 21-year-old then after their scout Ivica Stankovic followed him to Kampala, to make a fervent entreaty to the player.

“When I came back [home], I zeroed in on Kaizer Chiefs because of what they had told me about the club, that it was the most supported club.”

“They told me many good things about the club, about Chincha, the president of the club Kaizer Motaung. I naturally loved the club. Up to now, it is my favorite club. I shall die in gold and black,” he said.

Obua reveals why it was never a difficult decision to choose between Pirates and Chiefs.

“We sat down with Stankovic and we spoke. I think that is what made me want to go for Kaizer Chiefs because they pursued me more,” Obua revealed.

“For the Pirates’ side, they wanted the contract signed in the hotel but I said, ‘no, no’. Ivica came to Uganda the following weekend. We sat with him, we spoke, he had to speak to the president of my club, they spoke, they agreed, they paid what they had to pay, and then I was a Kaizer Chiefs player.”

Obua would go on to feature for the South African giants for three excellent years, winning five trophies, before drawing huge interest from Europe.

At Chiefs, he won the 2004/05 Premier Soccer League, the MTN 8 (2006, 2008), the Telkom Knockout (2007), and the 2006 Nedbank Cup where he scored the winner in the final.

In Europe, former Cranes head coach Laszlo Csaba signed him for Scottish side Hearts of Midlothian, where he played 91 official games between 2008-2012.

He won the 2011/12 Scottish Cup and managed a silver medal for the 2012/13 Scottish League Cup.

Obua managed a whopping total of 337 official appearances in his club career, notching a whole of 110 goals.

In the national team colors, before calling it quits in 2011 after a bitter split with FUFA, Obua had featured in 58 official matches, scoring 14 times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.