The St Mary’s stadium is one of URA FC’s favourite hunting grounds.
In fact, there has simply been no other team that has proved bogey to Vipers SC at home than the taxmen over the years. In URA’s last four visits there, they have managed two wins and two draws, a mark of how they certainly have Vipers’ number.
And on Thursday, November 23, URA will hope that they can get an early Christmas gift (victory), when they face Vipers under the floodlights of the St Mary’s stadium. The feeling is that URA’s destiny is sealed like a Bible story of 2000 years ago, where a gift to the world was born to the house of King David, that saved mankind.
Now with David Obua taking charge of his second league game as coach of URA, ‘King David’ as he has been referred to from his mercurial playing days with the Uganda Cranes is already at work, ‘saving’ URA from the sleeping giants they have been since 2011, when they last won the league title.
After Obua’s first game at URA, one where his charges acquitted themselves well enough to win, but ended up drawing 2-2 with a stubborn Kitara FC, he was upbeat. Seemingly unbothered about the disappointment that his players felt (missed goal-scoring chances), following the effort they put in, before conceding a sucker-punch late equalizer, Obua urged his players not to drop their heads one bit.
Obua pointed out how cruel football can be. But was quick to praise his players’ good attitude. Being a Friday then, Obua added: “Let them take their break, be with their wives, and have a blast. We will be back on Monday to resume training.” Obua’s stance was all about the positive vibes he has brought back to the team. He wants the players to feel free about the task, and above all, enjoy it if they are to win cups again.
Considering the two-year contract that Obua signed, he is looking to return the glory days to URA. But above all, he wants the team to become a force to reckon with, dominant and playing ‘sexy’ football. But do not be fooled by the niceties that Obua has been dishing out to his players, which started with him giving each player a high five, as they walked onto the field at the Mehta ground in Lugazi, for his first game on November 10.
Having been a player himself, recently, Obua knows too well how to get into the players’ heads, so that they play for you. But also, the fact that he played in South Africa and for Hearts of Midlothian in the Scottish Premier League, he knows the standards required in professional football. The carrot and stick cannot be so far away from a top coach.
For example, Obua has already changed the training regime at URA. Before he signed as Head coach of the club, Obua put fourth the things he needed to do the job, to the club’s management. A case in point is his computer, a giant screen in a hall on which he would illustrate what he wants his players to do.
Uganda’s former captain has introduced class sessions for his players in the morning and in the afternoon. Football is no longer a three hour syndrome, where the players would come in at 9 am and train up to midday, and off they go. URA players now spend the whole day at their training ground in Gayaza.
They literally are like boarding school students: They have all their meals there from breakfast to evening tea, which can be dinner to some, who are not heavy eaters. The club has also procured mattresses on which the players sleep between the two training sessions: Morning and evening, which runs to almost 7 pm.
Perhaps the most interesting bit about ‘King David’s’ reign was his ability to articulate issues and find wisdom to solve problems. Obua has also taken it upon himself, to get onto the field and play with the players, while illustrating to them how he wants them to apply themselves. If the URA players can have half of Obua’s gusto, when they face Vipers tomorrow night, then their good run at Kitende should go on.