MUSCAT, June 4 -Al Suwaiq, who had assured themselves of the league title a few weeks earlier, wrapped up their successful Omantel League campaign with a 1-0 victory over Suhar. The coronation of the North Al Batinah giants took place in the presence of HH Sayyid Taimur bin Assad bin Tareq al Said, who was the chief guest of the ceremony and graced the occasion along with Oman Football Association (OFA) chairman Salim al Wahaibi. Al Suwaiq captain Fayez al Rushaidi received the winner’s trophy from HH Sayyid Taimur bin Assad bin Tareq al Said.
Al Suwaiq’s triumph in the Omantel League can be attributed to a variety of factors. The presence of experienced campaigners like Abdulaziz al Muqbali, the Gulf Cup hero Fayez al Rushaidi, Khalid al Hajri and Yaseen al Shiyadi among others helped Al Suwaiq’s cause. The appointment of Iraqi coach Hakeem Shaker after the exit of Romanian coach Bilacci was a turning point for the club’s fortunes.
Suwaiq’s performances in the AFC Cup under Bilacci were not upto the mark and that hastened his ouster and brought Shaker at the helm of the team’s affairs. Shaker’s presence lifted and inspired the club to regaining the Omantel League title which they had last won in the 2012-2013 season.
Nine time league winners Fanja, Al Mudhaibi and Al Salam were relegated to the first division league. Fanja had to play out a 1-1 draw against Al Nahdha. Despite Al Mudhaibi and Salam’s victories over Dhofar and Mirbat respectively, both teams were demoted to the first division league as Oman club outplayed Al Shabab 5-1. Muscat survived relegation edging Al Oruba 2-1 while Saham also escaped demotion scraping through with a 1-0 victory against Al Nasr, thanks to a goal from Abdulaziz al Showmousi.
Haridev Pushparaj & Adil Al Balushi