Coach Zaman confident of Oman’s chances

Oman coach Tahir Zaman is a happy man after the side’s scrappy 4-3 opening match victory against Chinese Taipei on the first day of the men’s hockey Asian Games Qualifiers on Thursday. Zaman said he was quite satisfied with the players even though they had some tense moments in the game.

“Yeah, I was expecting more clarity in the result, honestly speaking. The way we have been working, it was not the way I was expecting. Boys get a little excited and emotional because they are playing in front of the home crowd. Everyone wanted to perform at their best. Some easy goal scoring chances were missed, but I think we are still very lucky that we have three points,’’ he added.
Oman had lost to Chinese Taipei in Hong Kong last month by the same margin after leading until the dying minutes of the game.

When pointed out the game seemed like going down the same track, Zaman said they were slightly better equipped to hold back the Taipei offence this time.
“Today it was slightly different. I believe we can produce a much better defence if we communicate better rather than react emotionally to the situation. We are glad that we have three points and next time all the bases will be covered, Inshallah,’’ Zaman added.

Oman did struggle with their penalty corners and this is one area where Zaman feels there is a lot of work to be done.
“This an area where we would look to perform better in the next games, we need to work more,’’ he added.
Rashad al Fazari was in fine fettle scoring a brace and Zaman felt he could have a scored a few more.
“Yes, he was very good today and he could have struck four or five goals easily,’’ Zaman said laughingly.

Oman’s next match is against Sri Lanka, who put up a rampant performance against Kazakhstan, today and Zaman was optimistic of a strong performance from his boys.

“We are confident of beating Sri Lanka. They are playing very good hockey but I must tell you our team has the potential to play even better than what you saw today and you can expect a stronger performance against Sri Lanka,’’ the coach explained.
Looking ahead to the rest of the tournament, Zaman stated Oman’s first target would be to reach the semifinals.

“Our first objective is to qualify for the semifinal and we are quite capable of that. So, if we top the pool then we will play the second-placed team in the other pool, which is most likely going to be Hong Kong. We had beaten Hong Kong in our practice match and also in Hong Kong, so we are confident going ahead,’’ Zaman signed off.