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Ivankovic to seek alternative plans for national team


Muscat, April 4 - Oman head coach Branko Ivankovic said he is looking for alternative plans for the training of the national team after suspension of the sporting activities by the Supreme Committee and cancellation of 2020-21 domestic season by the Oman Football Association (OFA).

The Croatian coach added in his exclusive remarks to Oman Daily Observer that he cannot comment in any decision made by the government and the OFA but his duty is to find any other possible proposals that will ensure smooth preparation of the national team for the forthcoming assignments including the joint World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

“It is really difficult and terrible for any player to be without any training sessions and official matches for long period. We had lost five to six months last year due to the ongoing pandemic and a similar scenario is repeating once again. However, there are different plans and solutions to be taken to face this tough condition. I will meet the chairman of OFA, Shaikh Salim al Wahaibi, this week. From this meeting, I will draw up the plan for the next phase of the national team’s preparation,” he said.

Commenting on having an overseas camp as a proposal for the national team to prevent any negative impact and delay in the team’s plan, the 67-year-old responded that this is one of the available solutions.

“An external warm-up camp is one of the alternative solutions that will be raised to the national teams committee and then discussed with the chairman,” he added.

The ‘Red Warriors’ completed the external camp in Dubai successfully on March 25. The two weeks camp featured two friendly games against Jordan and India. Both matches ended in draws with Jordan game finishing goalless and India match 1-1.

Coach Ivankovic expressed his full satisfaction on Dubai camp as he described that it was went in an excellent condition.

“Thanks to the Emirates Football Association for the whole organisation. The team had played two warm-up matches after a long break and it was a golden opportunity to stand on performance of different players. Many top technical outcomes were obtained from both the friendlies. We have missed some players in Muscat due to their positive cases of Covid-19, while some players got injured. In addition, we had utilised all the camp days as the training schedules were occupied daily,” he ended.

A significant assignment is awaiting the national football team in the remaining rounds of the joint 2022 Fifa World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. Qatar will host the remaining matches of the group from May 31 to June 15.

Oman are currently positioned second in Group E with 12 points while Asian champions Qatar are topping the group with 13 points from five games. Afghanistan are placed third with four points. India (3 points) and Bangladesh (1 point) are in the third and fourth positions respectively.

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