MUSCAT, April 4 - Four-time winners Al Nasr will take on Sohar, who is looking to win the coveted title for the first time, in His Majesty’s Cup football final on Thursday.
The final, to be played at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bausher, is scheduled to kick off at 7 pm under auspices of Dr Fuad bin Jaafar Al Sajwani, Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries in presence of dignitaries and officials.
Al Nasr secured their position in the final match after their victory in first leg of semifinals against Al Shabab 3-1 and a draw 1-1 in the second-leg. Sohar reached the final after they picked up an aggregate 5-3 win over Seeb in the semifinals after winning 4-1 in the first leg and a 2-1 defeat in the second leg.
Both clubs faced each other in the Omantel league in the 12th week on November 24 and Al Nasr thrashed Sohar 5-2. Definitely, the scope of Thursday’s match is different from the league match. In Omantel league, Al Nasr are at third place with 24 points, while Sohar are in the 12th spot with 16 points only. From the league results, Al Nasr’s performance is consistent while Sohar have not done that well until now. “We have arrived to Muscat early enough to have a training camp. I worked out to prepare the players ready for the final mentally and psychologically. We are prepared to give our best for this important match,” Hamza al Jamal, coach of Al Nasr, said.
“Our aim was not only to reach the final but also to clinch the crown for a fifth time for the club,” Al Jamal added.
“History of Al Nasr does not mean that we are favourites to take the title. I respect the Sohar team,” the Egyptian coach said.
“Hamed al Habsi will not be able to take part in the match. Our preparations were very good and I am happy with the available squad,” he said.
Abdullah Nouh’s form will be key for Al Nasr club in the title-clash.
Sohar will depend on a series of players like Sameer al Buraiki, Yaqoob Abdulkarim, Al Mutaism al Shubli, Ishaq al Muqbali and Dawood al Khaldi.
Sohar coach said they want to win the HM Cup for the first time.
“We want to make our dream come true by winning the coveted trophy for the first time. Today’s match is the most important match for Sohar in the season. Mental and psychological preparation are the major factors for the final,” Sohar coach Murad Mawlai said.
“We are focusing to win the match and clinch the HM Cup for the first time,” Mawlai added.
The Oman Football Association (OFA) has announced the officials for the match. Qasim al Hatmi will officiate the match with Hamed al Mayahi and Nasser Ambu Saidi. Yaqoob Abdul Baqi will be the fourth referee and Hamood al Shuaibi will be the fifth official.
Referee Qasim al Hatmi officiated more than 45 matches in the season 2016-17. He participated as fourth referee in the AFC Cup this season.
Main committee for the final match of the HM Cup presided over by Director-General of Sports Development and Welfare at the Ministry of Sports Affairs has completed all preparations for the showdown. Committee had a series of meetings last month to prepare and settle down everything.
The OFA has also arranged for several surprises for the fans who will attend the final. The OFA will be presenting bundle of prizes for the fans including airline tickets, smartphones, shopping vouchers and other valuable gifts.
Final ceremony for the HM Cup will differ this year by having new systems of laser and spot lighting shows during the prize-giving ceremony.