KUWAIT CITY, Dec 23 – After a stunning performance that Oman national team showed against UAE in the first round of Group A in the Arabian Gulf Cup, we can argue that we lost three points but we earned a good team for the next game. However, there are few points that we have to remember:
1) Unexpected good performance
Although Pim Verbeek started against UAE with almost the same formation and tactics he used in Yemen friendly, we noticed a much better performance this time. The team was appreciated by most of the football pundits because we were the better side. The mental preparation might be behind this good display but even the movement of the players throughout the full 90 minutes gave indicators that the results of the internal camp in Muscat came out very successfully.
2) Oman can still go far
In comparison what we have seen in the first round from all teams of the Group A, Oman will still have a better chance to qualify for the semifinals. we only need to improve the attacking line against the hosts Kuwait on Monday.
3) Weak bench
One of the main issues that Pim Verbeek may suffer in this tournament is the quality of players he has on the bench. The first substitute he made against UAE was the striker Abdulaziz al Muqbali in the 75th minute. This showed that he had no trust in the available substitutes to come in from the bench and make a difference.
4) A 3-5-2 tactical system
As we have plenty of good players who play on the wings, why we don’t try a 3-5-2 system? We have high-flying wing-backs on the right and left wings such as Saad Suhail and Ali al Busaidi. Both of them can add attacking values by their accurate crosses. Having three central defenders will reduce the defensive duties of them, and with the good strikers (Abdulaziz, Khalid al Hajri) we have in the front, this might be worth trying.
5) Abdulaziz al Muqbali must start
With regards to his qualities and experience in the Gulf Cup competitions, Abdulaziz should have an important role for us in Kuwait. Through the 15 minutes he was involved in the UAE game, Abdulaziz showed good impact. So, we expect him to be one of the first names on the line up against Kuwait next Monday.
Oman will play hosts Kuwait next Monday in the second round of Group A at Jaber International Stadium at 20:00 ( Kuwait time).
Jaber Al Ajmi