Al Shabab, Dhofar strong favourites



Jaber al Ajmi –
Muscat, May 4 –
Al Shabab and Dhofar head the race for Omantel Professional League (OPL) trophy with four remaining games to play. Newcomers Jalan and Al Rustaq are likely to face relegation. Today Al Shabab will play Muscat while Dhofar face Al Oruba in Sur on Saturday.
Al Shabab lead the table by two points ahead of Dhofar.
Khamis al Balushi, football media anchor says Dhofar and Al Shabab will continue the fight until the last round of the campaign where Dhofar will host Al Shabab.
“Al Shabab have been doing a wonderful season and they are the only stable team and leading the table since the end of 13th round as they beat Dhofar, who too, have a very strong squad which includes good international players… I think the next rounds 23 and 24 will give us some idea about the champion, but I can say that both of Al Shabab and Dhofar deserve the title this season.”
The football commentator Ahmed al Kabi agreed with Khamis. “Both Al Shabab and Dhofar have equal chances of winning the title, however the upcoming fixtures for both the teams make Al Shabab more close to the title. Dhofar will travel to face Al Oruba at Sur and if they comeback to Salalah with three points, the title might be decided in the last week when Dhofar host Al Shabab.”
Fahad al Araimi, football coach and analyst, also votes for Al Shabab due to the great form of the team throughout the campaign. “The stability of the starting lineup, variety of key players, strong bench and the two clear points over Dhofar, all these elements make Al Shabab favourties.
However, Dhofar also have a great opportunity to snatch the title as they will host Al Shabab in the final round of the competition.
On the other hand, Suhail al Rishidi, another football coach, says Dhofar will be the champion due to their vast experience in the competition.
The newcomers Jalan and Al Rustaq are on their way back to the First Division League due to many reasons, say experts
“Jalan and Al Rustaq are in a difficult situation as they have to win all remaining games to survive, ” says Khamis.
According to Ahmed al Kabi,“ there is a huge difference between OPL and First Division League especially in the finance and preparation aspects. Jalan and Al Rustaq might not be well prepared for these challenges. We always encourage the newcomers to be well prepared for OPL as it is a strong competition.”
The upcoming two weeks will give us broader insights about the situation of Jalan and Al Rustaq.