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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Dhofar clash with Suwaiq in HM Cup final

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Muscat, March 6 -


Salalah giants Dhofar who are aiming for their tenth title, will clash with Al Suwaiq, who are chasing their fourth crown, in the summit clash of the prestigious 2020/2021 His Majesty’s Cup Football Championship on Sunday. The summit clash kicks off at 6.45 pm at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.


The Salalah powerhouse, Dhofar, are looking to register a new record and go beyond the ninth title as they equalised with Fanja, who are currently on nine titles for each team. The title holders, had lifted their last title on November 29, 2020, and are also eyeing to make it two in a row.


They had won two titles respectively in 1980 and 1981. The Salalah giant’s nine victories in HM Cup were in 1976, 1980, 1981, 1990, 1999, 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2020 editions.


The Northern Batinah team, Al Suwaiq, are aiming to recall the memories of the last title in 2016/2017 against Dhofar besides the team’s triumph in 2012/2013 and 2008/2009. Coach Hakeem Shaker’s men are equipped with youth energy and enthusiasm to face Dhofar in a new assignment.


The summit clash of the prestigious championship will be held without attendance of the crowd in accordance with the instructions of the Supreme Committee dealing with Covid-19.


The last edition’s final match was attended by 100 fans from each team while the restrictions changed in this season due to the high positive cases in the past few weeks.


The Oman Football Association in direct coordination with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth will organise the match under full implementation of the medical protocol and measures to avoid spreading of the Covid-19.


The experienced national coach Rasheed Jaber voiced confidently during the press meet on Saturday at Seeb Stadium that the team planned to defend the title since the beginning of the season and we are one step to accomplish this target.


“Since the commencement of the season, our plans were very clear on the goal which was reaching the finals of all the domestic events. In the semis round, we could manage to beat one of the top nominees to the final match, Seeb. The final step is pending as we meet a tough and organised Al Suwaiq team,” he added.


Dhofar booked a slot in the final after edging Seeb in the semis round. The first leg match ended in a goalless draw while Dhofar won 2-1 in the return match. In the quarterfinal, the Salalah giants knocked out Musannah 2-0 in the first leg match and 3-0 in the second leg match. In the last 16 stage, Dhofar won Al Rustaq 2-0.


The head coach of Dhofar team said small technical details during the game may identify the winner of the match. “In the previous edition of the HM Cup against Al Oruba, despite Dhofar were the best side but the opponent Al Oruba could return back if they succeeded to benefit from some mistakes. The team who will be in better focus and with high concentration from players will be the champions,” he clarified.


Responding on a query of team’s missing the scoring attempts, coach Rasheed Jaber answered that this is not concern for the technical staff. “This is good indication that the team can arrive to the operation box and near to score. Goals will be scored with more focus and attention from players,” he concluded.


The goalkeeper of Salalah powerhouse, Fayez al Rushaidi, sounded confident that the team is in full readiness and shape to meet Al Suwaiq. “Our aim is to play a top final match which can reflect the development of Oman’s football. It is expected that some nervousness could be experienced in the finals but we are assured to play high technical game,” he said.


On the other hand, Iraq’s Hakeem Shaker, head coach of Al Suwaiq club, affirmed that Batinah team have good chances in the final of the prestigious championship.


“Despite huge technical differences between Dhofar and Al Suwaiq, I am fully confident that Al Suwaiq will star to deliver a high technical class match and reach the target. It is my third presence in the Sultanate and I hope to be a positive face on my team Al Suwaiq,” he added.


 


Adil Al Balushi


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