MUSCAT: Oman's Red Warriors face the toughest test of their Central Asian Football Association (Cafa) Nations Cup 2023, as they will take on the hosts Uzbekistan at Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Sunday for group A matches. The match will start at 7:30pm (Oman time). In the same group, Tajkistan will meet Turkmenistan in the opener of group A games. The match will kick off at 5:30 (Oman time). Taking part in the Cafa event is part of shaping the players readiness for the upcoming crucial assignments AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 finals and the qualifiers for Asian teams on road to the Fifa World Cup 2026 as well as the AFC Asian Cup 2027. Oman will seek a win against Uzbekistan to begin the tournament strongly and register an accomplishment ahead of the official assignments start.
The Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic thanked in the press conference on Saturday the Uzbekistan Football Association for the organising of the tournament and warm welcome to the team. “ We will play four crucial matches in this tournament and these games will be perfect stations for the team to gear up properly ahead of the continental and international events. I am attending this friendly tournament for the second time as I was here before with Iran team,” the coach added.
The 69 years old voiced confidently that he is fully aware on the Uzbeki team. “ Uzbekistan team classified as very strong and developed team in Asia. I hope all the best for them and reach to their planned targets. This friendly tournament is very crucial for Oman team and will help us a lot for our preparations for the next events. If the things moved as we are planning, we may will meet with Iran from the other group. This will be a great test for us beside the three matches in group stage,” he said
Coach Branko affirmed that Oman team respect all the participated teams in this preparatory event. “ We will enter to this friendly tournament with a target of registering the maximum technical outcomes. I observed the last three matches of Uzbekistan team and they are very well organised team which comprised very top players,” he ended
Oman’s Harib al Saadi said that this tournament is very essential for the team ahead of the joint Asian and world cup qualifiers. “ As players, we are looking to maximise our benefits from this friendly event. The team are in its best condition to begin this tournament,” he finished
The national team will compete against hosts Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in Group A in the Central Asian Football Association (Cafa) Nations Cup 2023 while Iran, Kyrgyzstan (hosts) and Afghanistan teams comprised Group B. The event is scheduled in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan during June 10 to 20. The Oman team will utilise from their participation at the Central Asian event by playing some tight matches against the Asian teams from different schools. Oman will take on Tajikistan on Wednesday in their second match and will conclude their group games against Turkmenistan on Saturday.