‘The dreams of the Omanis pumped me up’

Muscat, Jan 8 – As the euphoria of the Gulf Cup victory settles down on the whole of Oman, it is time to remind ourselves of the heroic exploits of Fayez al Rushaidi, the goalkeeper who was the star of the tournament. The 29-year-old Fayez relived his moments of inspiration and glory when the team was accorded an official reception at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Saturday. “In the final, it was a difficult moment for me when we conceded a penalty in the 90th minute. The thought about the dreams of the Omanis for the title pumped me up and I could save it,’’ said the beaming Oman custodian. The Al Suwaiq goalkeeper has constantly had to live under the towering shadow of the Sultanate’s beloved captain and legend Ali al Habsi.

But, Fayez spoke about Habsi with huge respect. “I admire captain Ali a lot and I want to emulate what he has done for the country and bring many more laurels for Oman,’’ he added. Although, Fayez was in and out of the team for the last nine years, the presence of Ali al Habsi kept the former in the reserves. However, his patience, dedication and discipline has seen Fayez being appreciated by one and all. In the final, Fayez stopped the Omar Abdulrahman penalty in the 90th minute to save Oman in regulation time before repeating the act against the same player in the shoot-out. These two penalty saves by Fayez will forever be remembered by the Omani people and proudly recounted down the ages.

Haridev Pushparaj