With the African Cup of Nations kicking off this week, NTOF will be looking at some of the most interesting African players to grace Scottish football. Next on the list is Ugandan midfielder David Obua, who had a spell at Hearts.
Obua made just over a century of appearances for the Jambos having signed from South African giants Kaizer Chiefs. After having a trial at Premier League West Ham, Csaba Laszlo successfully brought the player to Edinburgh on a free transfer.
Obua suffered a stuttering start
But Obua found the Scottish game tricky. It’s fair to say that his form improved, not under his former international manager but, under Laszlo’s successor – Jim Jefferies.
His most notable goals included a derby day winner at Easter Road in May 2010, as the home of arch-rivals Hibs went under redevelopment.
Irony at Ibrox
And he also bagged the first SPL goal of the 2011-12 season. Hearts took the lead against Rangers through Obua’s header at Ibrox.
Ironic in that the goal were to be cancelled out by Hearts’ main man last season, Steven Naismith, who they are hoping to re-sign this coming campaign.
He also made a cameo appearance late on as Hearts were humbled 5-0 at home by Tottenham Hotspur in Europa League qualifying in August 2011.
New manager Paulo Sergio evidently wasn’t a fan of Obua’s. So it proved as, in April 2012, he was told his Hearts contract wouldn’t be extended.
Obua’s time in the Scottish capital won’t go down in history. But for his nation, he was a terrific talent. He scored his first goal for Uganda at 20 years old. And most notably scored a hat-trick for ‘The Cranes’ in an AFCON qualifier against Niger which Uganda won 3-1.
His father Denis also played for Uganda, in the 1978 African Cup of Nations. At the last tournament, David was amongst the analysts in Super Sport’s, a South African company, studios.
Hearts may have wasted a lot of money on Obua’s signing with his wages and lack of real return. You begin to wonder what on earth West Ham were thinking when they offered him a trial. However, he’s the type of crazy character that Scottish football is renowned for.