MUSCAT: The Oman beach soccer team are pooled along with Palestine, Sudan and Egypt in Group B of the fifth edition of the Arab Beach Soccer Championship 2023 which will be hosted by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah city during May 1 to 20.
The draw ceremony took place late on Sunday in Jeddah city. Hosts Saudi Arabia are grouped with Mauritania, Morocco and Lebanon in Group A while UAE are leading Group C besides Libya, Kuwait and Comoro Islands.
As the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) gets ready to host the forthcoming edition of the prestigious championship, a sense of excitement is seen among the participating teams as action resumes after a gap of seven years from the last tournament in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in 2016. United Arab Emirates (UAE) are the last edition champions when they beat Morocco 3-2 in the final. Oman finished fourth. Hosts Egypt were the champions in the third edition also at Sharm El Sheikh in 2014, defeating Lebanon 6-5 in the final.
The team, coached by the long-serving national coach Talib Hilal, will commence their campaign in the tournament with a match against Palestine on May 12 and the match will start at 18:30 (Oman time). Then, the national beach soccer team will take on Egypt on May 14 and on the following day they will face Sudan.
It is expected that Oman team will return back to the action after Eid break with a series of internal and external camps. The preparatory programme will feature a series of friendly games ahead of the forthcoming assignments.
The Arab beach soccer 2023 will act as a significant step in Oman’s team preparation for the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup UAE 2023 which will be hosted by Dubai during November 16 to 26. Oman are ranked 14th internationally in the latest Fifa world ranking and will be looking to claim maximum technical output from this significant event. Oman team recently concluded their participation in the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup in Bali city, Indonesia, in third place.
The 16 teams from different Arab countries have been drawn into three groups with the top-two teams from each group advancing to the quarterfinal round along with the best two among the third-placed teams. The tournament will begin on May 18. The semifinals will take place on May 19 and the winners of the semifinals will vie for the trophy on May 20.
The first edition of the Arab beach soccer championship was in Egypt’s Marsa Alam in 2008. Libya beat UAE 5-3 to emerge champions. In 2010, it was in Damam, Saudi Arabia and the hosts beat UAE 6-3 after extra-time to win the title.
Oman Squad: Khaid al Araimi, Mashal al Araimi, Younis al Owaisi, Abdullah al Souti Amjad al Hamadani, Sami al Balushi, Munthir al Araimi, Shareef al Balushi, Sami al Balushi, Ahmed al Owaisi, Hamed al Araimi, Yahya al Muraikhi, Salim al Araimi, Abdulrahman al Fazari and al Yaqdhan al Hindasi.