Dhofar, Al Suwaiq clash in HM Cup final

By Jaber Al Ajmi — MUSCAT: May 24 – Dhofar have a chance to secure the second trophy of the 2016/2017 season, as they take on Al Suwaiq in the final of His Majesty’s Cup today at Sultan Qaboos Stadium (19-15). Dhofar have been recently crowned the champions of Omantel Professional League (OPL) for the 10th time (record), and chase the ninth title of the HM cup to equal Fanja who have the record in the competition with nine titles. The Salalah giants have the potential to win the domestic double for the fourth time after 1989/1990, 1998/1999, and 2004/2005 seasons, while Al Suwaiq will hope to clinch the title for the third time after 2008/2009 and 2012/2013 seasons.
The three-time OPL champions Al Suwaiq started the season very badly and made their way to bottom down in relegation-zone of OPL before the club management signed with the famous Iraqi manager Hakeem Shaker. Shaker made an impressive impact as he took the team from the relegation zone to the sixth place and spurred the team to the HM Cup final.
Hakeem appeared confident in the pre-match press conference held on Wednesday at Golden Tulip, Muscat.
“We hope to save our football season with a title and it would be great if we win the HM Cup which is the most prestigious domestic competition.” Shaker said.
‘’I thank all managers who managed Al Suwaiq before I joined as they put the fundamentals and competed in four different competitions despite the number of injuries etc. I came to complete with what they did and happy for what we did so far.
The Iraqi manager showed immense respect for the experience of Dhofar.
‘’We respect Dhofar for their history, qualitative players and the good style of play they showed this season but we will do our best in the tie and we hope to win the trophy.
‘’We will miss four main players (Mohammed Al Bulushi (Al Shiba), Harib Al Saadi, Anwar Al Alawi, and Omar, but we still believe in ourselves especially with the massive support of our loyal fans who want us to return Al Suwaiq to the golden days”. Hakeem spoke about the main players who will miss the big final.
Al Suwaiq defeated Oman Club on (2-1) to reach the final, while Dhofar overcame Saham (3-0 agg).
Molay Al Hassan Murad too emphasised their hopes to extend their happiness by winning the coveted trophy, saying that: ‘’After the happy end of the OPL by winning the title, everyone in Salalah want us to make it double.’’
‘’It will be a tough game against a strong team that are managed by an experienced manager Hakeem Shaker, but the hope of clinching the domestic double gives us an advantage.
‘’We had a rest for five days after the final OPL week to make a recovery for some of the tired players and then we got back to training and worked on the tactical and technical sides to be well ready for the game.”