Kuwait City, Dec 24 – Oman national team has no option except taking three points to keep their hopes alive when they face hosts Kuwait in their second match of the Arabian Gulf Cup on Monday (22:00 Oman Time) at Jaber International Stadium.
The match is crucial for both Oman and Kuwait as they lost their opening games against the UAE and Saudi Arabia respectively.
Oman national team manager Pim Verbeek and Kuwait manager Boris Bunjak spoke about the importance of this game in the pre-match press conference.
Pim Verbeek said, “It’s a game between two teams who deserved at least one point each, but in reality we have no points.”
“It will be a difficult game because both of the teams are looking only to win.”
“Kuwait’s game against Saudi proved that Kuwait didn’t give up until the last minutes in order to equalise and they had serious chances to score,” the Dutchman said.
“We also played a very good game against the UAE, but we can’t ignore that their defence was very good.”
Verbeek will not depend on the history Oman has over Kuwait in the last 10 years.
He said, “History is not important. It’s a different tournament with different teams. I will prepare my team to concentrate only on winning the three points.”
Omani goalkeeper Faiyez al Rashidi who replaced Ali al Habsi in the tournament commented on their preparation for the game saying that “We are looking forward to our game with the hosts. It’s a big game, but we will carry on with our performance.”
“The team got over their loss (against UAE) immediately after the game, and everyone appreciated the performance. So it’s a new game with new chances and the team is ready for it.”
Ahmed al Kaabi, media manager of Oman Football Association, spoke about the mental preparation for their next game.
On the other side, Kuwait manager Boris Bunjak said he will be wary of a resurgent Oman.
“I worked closely with Oman football for three years in two different Omani football clubs. Oman have very talented energetic players and they proved their qualities in the first game against the UAE. They were unlucky, but absolutely they were the better side.”
“It’s a very disciplined team with high physical potentials, as well got a very fast transition from attack to defend.”
“It won’t be an easy game at all, but we will give our best to grab the three points,” Bunjak said.
The Kuwait coach said the national team is slowly returning to action after a two-year Fifa ban.
“After two years of international absence, we have some issues because of the short period of preparation as well the short recovery period between the games. So, every one of us need to do more than 100 per cent.”
“Finally, we don’t compete against history. We are playing against a new team. So, focusing on history will be a big mistake,” the Serbian manager concluded.
Oman and Kuwait are set in the third and fourth places of Group A, which includes UAE and KSA who have three points each.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE will face off at 7.30 pm (Oman Time) in an early match at the same stadium.
Jaber al Ajmi