Muscat, May 8
Oman beach soccer team is all set for the West Asian Federation Championship which will be held in Saudi Arabia from May 15 to 21.
Seven teams will take part in the WAFF event and they distributed into two groups.
Oman are grouped with the UAE, Kuwait and Lebanon in Group A, while hosts Saudi Arabia are leading Group B besides Bahrain and Palestine.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals. The beach soccer competition will be organised under an umbrella of West Asian Football Federations (WAFF) and Beach Soccer Worldwide.
Nabil al Balushi, Oman team manager, said the team will travel to Jazan city, Saudi Arabia on May 14. “The team is undergoing a preparatory domestic camp under supervision of head coach Talib Hilal. We are having daily two sessions of training including morning and evening sessions. We were supposed to meet Kuwait team in a warm-up game during this camp but they pulled out later,” he added in his remarks to Oman Daily Observer.
“The team is in good shape after the first long internal camp which took place during Ramadhan and featured three friendlies games against Bahrain. The national team emerged superior in all the preparatory games, winning all of them by good margin. Those matches were very essential as the head coach could test the player’s performances specially by the new faces ahead of the West Asian Federation Championship assignment,” he said.
In the first edition of the West Asian Federation Championship, which was orgainsed in 2013, Oman had finished as runners-up while hosts Iran had clinched the title. Seven teams took part in the event during that time including Qatar, Palestine, Bahrain, Iraq and Lebanon, Iran and Oman.
Al Balushi affirmed that the squad of national beach soccer team had changed a lot from the team’s appearance at the 2021 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in Russia.
“Seven new young players have joined the national team squad and there are five more in the waiting list to join shortly in the coming period. It is quite risky to do complete change of the squad as we need some experienced members in the team. There are seven experienced players besides the same number of new potential faces. The majority of the newly selected players were from the first edition of the beach soccer league which ended in last March,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the Oman Football Association (OFA) is gearing up to organise the second edition of the national beach soccer league. “The plan is to have the league in November as the weather will get cooler. There were 13 teams in the inaugural edition and we are expecting much more teams in the forthcoming edition. The league will definitely assist in boosting beach soccer in the Sultanate of Oman and provide new potential members for the national squad ,” he ended.
OMAN SQUAD: Mundher al Oraimi, Mashal al Oraimi, Salim al Oraimi, Khalid al Mukhaini, Amjad al Hamdani, Nouh al Zadjali, Ahmed al Owaisi, Younis al Owaisi, Sami al Balushi, Abdullah al Buraiki, Yahya al Buraiki, Abdulrahman al Fazari, Sameer Jameel, Mohammed al Maawali, Nouh al Battashi and Abdullah al Souti.