The player was previously playing with Perth Glory in the A-League.

Odisha FC has fulfilled their mandatory Asian quota with the signing of Osama Malik. He is a 31-year-old Australian defender who has played in the A-League for most of his career. Osama is a versatile player, who can operate as a central defender, full-back and holding midfielder. All these attributes caught the eye of the Indian Super League side.

Another fact that Malik has played 44 games under current head coach Josep Gombau makes him a good Asian option. The 1.85 m tall defender can be a handy asset for the club, which conceded the joint-most goals (43) last season.

Prior Experience

Malik played for Melbourne City FC between 2016 to 2019 (Coutesy: Melbourne City FC)

Osama plied his trade for local clubs Croydon Kings and Adelaide Raiders before signing for Adelaide United’s youth squad at the commencement of the A-League 2008-09 season. Malik made his professional debut on 14 December 2008 in the FIFA Club World Cup. Next he had a one-year stint at North Queensland Fury as an U-21 player. Again in the 2011-12 season he was signed for Adelaide United, where he played till the end of 2015.

Melbourne City was his next destination in 2016 where he made 57 appearances till the 2018-19 season. Malik also had a 8-game stint at Al-Batin in the Saudi Professional League after that. Next he had a 3-year stay at Perth Glory before joining Odisha FC for the upcoming ISL season.

Type of player

Osama is a very versatile player and can come handy to the coach during the unavailability of players. His ability to consistently be on track with opposition strikers till the last moment is the key attribute of his gameplay. Unlike traditional defenders, Malik loves to move up the pitch and contribute in attack as well. The Australian has good pace as well to track back and cover the spaces he creates. Hence, he can fare well against sides who mostly rely on counter-attacks.

In addition, the 31-year-old is also a progressive centre-back and has the ability to pass the ball laterally as well. Despite being a decent option to pair with Carlos Delgado, Malik can be effective in midfield too.

What does he bring to the team?

Odisha FC have re-signed their former head coach Josep Gombau for the upcoming season. The Spaniard prefers to play with a 4-2-3-1 formation and it was effective in his previous spell. With a reliable option at the back in Carlos Delgado, Malik is expected to play a pivotal role in defensive midfield. The permanent deal of Vinit Rai with Mumbai City also makes sense for this theory. Last year Odisha FC struggled to control games in the middle of the park and it would be no surprise if Gombau exploits his versatility. 

Osama Malik brings a lot to the ISL franchise with his A-League experience. And the fact that he has already played under the head coach before at Adelaide United makes him a good signing for the Juggernauts.

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