Kuwait, Dec 27 – Oman national team has only one choice — a win against Saudi Arabia — to reach the semifinal of the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup.
The last round match of Group A kicks off at Jaber International Stadium at 19:30 (Oman Time). At the same time, hosts Kuwait, who officially went out of the competition, will face the UAE at the Al Kuwait Club Stadium.
The Red Warriors are in third place with three points, while the UAE and Saudi Arabia have four points each. So, if KSA beat or draw with Oman, UAE will automatically qualify to the semifinal as they defeated Oman 1-0 in the first match.
In the pre-match press conference, Oman national team manager Pim Verbeek spoke about the tactical aspects that might decide the game more than the physical aspect.
“It will be the third game in a short period of time, so the level of fitness won’t be like the start of the tournaments. Therefore, I will try to focus on the tactics,” the Dutchman said.
“The Saudi team is very organised and they play big games, as we know the Saudi league is very strong league. But every team have strengths and weakness and its my job to discover it.” The 63-year-old emphasised the importance of recovery of the players during the training session.
“We started the recovery session for the players who participated in the previous games and a good training session in the field for the other players”.
Once again, Verbeek kept his players away from the media pressure, especially after they presented a beautiful game against the UAE and Kuwait.
He said: “The most important game is the next game. What’s coming later is later.”
“So far, I have seen that there is no big differences between all the teams. So all the six teams have similar chances to reach the finals.”
“The situation of our team is very good because we had no pressure about getting the title. We turned this into a positive situation to prove our capabilities and we proved it,” Oman defender Mohammed al Musalami said.
The play with one chance is not a headache for Pim Verbeek.
“I don’t think the pressure will be different than any game. But we have only one choice which is winning.”
“Although I have young players but I trust in their talents,” Verbeek added.
The Dutchman spoke also about the balances before facing KSA.
“The Saudi team have as well young talented players so it won’t be easy to deal with, but we are doing our best to prepare for this game.”
“It will be a difficult game against them, but my ultimate goal is only to win.”
“They played in different tactical system in the previous two games. It will be an interesting game and we will see how they will play.
“However, I don’t care about how they will start against us. I only care about preparing my team in the best way possible.
“Probably they will focus on defence to keep their sheets clean, and we will focus on finding spaces,” Verbeek opined.
Verbeek also commented about the weakness of his front line activation as a natural issue that all teams face. “I think its difficult to score goals in this tournaments because all the teams are well organised. UAE as well scored only one goal from a penalty.” “ Its not about how many goals we score, its about the final result,” the Oman head coach concluded.
During the final team training session ahead of Saudi Arabia match, Oman coach Pim Verbeek was seen spending his time with strikers Abdulaziz al Muqbali and Said al Ruzaiqi. Both the sharp shooters are likely to have some key roles in the crunch Group A match.
Jaber al Ajmi