MUSCAT, FEB 15 - Defending champions were clubbed in a tight group with strong teams Bausher, Dhofar and Seeb in Group B of final round in the His Majesty’s Cup hockey championship after the draw on Monday.
Former champions Ahli Sidab, Sohar, Nizwa and Majees formed the Group A.
The final round matches will begin at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bausher from February 22 and continue till February 26.
Each team will have three matches in the group and the top two from Group A and B will enter the semifinals to be played on February 28.
The final of the coveted championship is slated for March 1 after the third-place play-off.
Dr Abdullah bin Nasser al Harrasi, Minister of Information, will the chief guest for the final.
The draw for the final round was held at the Oman Hockey Association (OHA) office at the Oman Olympic Committee headquarters in Al Ghubra on Monday. Salim bin Gharib al Qartoubi, chairman of the Competition Committee, presided over the draw ceremony in presence of the club managers.
On the opening day of final round, Ahli Sidab will take on Nizwa at 4.30 pm. Majees take on Sohar (6.30 pm) in the second match of Group A.
Al Nasr open campaign in Group B with a crunch clash against derby rivals Dhofar in a later match at 8.30 pm on the first day.
In preliminary round, Ahli Sidab had won all their matches in Group 3 to accumulate 18 points to reach the final round. Last edition runner-ups Ahli Sidab are on a scoring spree as they thrashed rival teams by 10 or more goals in four of their group matches.
They ended group campaign with a 13-0 thumping of Muscat on Sunday night.
Nizwa made to the final round behind toppers Ahli Sidab from Group 3 with 10 points.
Holders Al Nasr also swept all their matches in Group 2 to qualify with maximum 18 points from six matches.
Bausher also qualified in same fashion after topping Group 4 with 12 points by winning all four group matches. Seeb, though lost twice against Bausher, made it to the next round after prevailing over Qurayat two times. Seeb have six points, while Qurayat lost all matches.
In Group 1, Majees and Sohar advanced with nine points each and Majees topping on better goal average.