By Anuroop A — MUSCAT: Dec 18: The need of the hour for Oman hockey is some good international coaches so that the country make a significant stride in Asian level, according to Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) CEO Dato Sree Tayyib Ikram. Talking exclusively to Oman Observer during the HM Cup hockey semifinals on Saturday night Tayyab Ikram, who is also the regional development officer of International Hockey Federation (FIH), said it is high time Oman make solid improvement in international level. “The Sultanate needs to invest in coaching. What the country lacks is the expertise of good qualified coaches at the moment,” the AHF chief opined.
“The development should come at the grass roots level with good investment in the technical area, like coaching and umpiring. Good technical knowledge of the game is essential in modern hockey.”
Oman has a world ranking of 31st and Ikram said the new hockey board should eye a ranking among 6-9 at the Asian level.
“I am hopeful about the new board of Oman Hockey Association. The board, led by Talib al Wahaibi, is a bunch of enthusiastic hockey lover. I am sure they will be able to make a good contribution to Oman hockey.”
“Oman has good talents across the country. It is only a matter of time, they make a leap in Asian rankings.”
Separately on Sunday, OHA chairman Talib al Wahaibi was appointed as a member of the AHF Development Committee. Reacting to the appointment, Al Wahiabi said,”I feel very happy. It is surely a big boost to the Oman hockey. We are determined to work for the growth of hockey in Oman.”
Talib said there might be another OHA member in the committee after two weeks’ time.
The OHA are right now in search for international coach for the national team.
The national team is currently coached by Omani coach Ahmed al Darmaiki, who took charge after the term of German Oliver Kurtz.
Oman will take part in the World Hockey League Round 2 in Dhaka, Bangladesh from March 4-17, 2017.
“We are looking for an experienced coach. The coach will be from the Indian sub-continent,” the OHA chief had said.
“I am in consultation with the Asian Hockey Federation and International Hockey Federation for finding a suitable person,” Talib said.
When asked about the assistance of FIH and AHF regarding the foreign coach, Tayyib Ikram said both the bodies are keen to help and promote a hockey nation like Oman.
“The process is in the right direction. We will help the OHA arrive at the right candidate for the key post.”
“The role of coach is most important as far as Oman is considered. The national and junior teams need qualified and expert coaches who can bring in significant change in standard of the hockey in Oman,” Ikram said.
On a query on Gulf Cup Championship for hockey, Ikram said the idea is being actively considered by the AHF.
“We had started tournaments of five-a-side hockey in GCC level. Shortly, the full format will make its entry. The Youth Cup and indoor tournaments are also in running at the GCC level,” Ikram said.
Meanwhile, Talib said Oman will seek the help of former Indian Olympian Varsha Soni to set up a women’s hockey team.
“I had met Varsha and she will pick some 15 to 20 female players from the Indian schools here. Similar number of Omani girls will also be picked from the various Omani schools, which I will be entrusted with the responsibility.”
“Our aim is to set up two good women’s team in Oman,” the OHA chief added.