Muscat, September 23 – Oman national U-16 football team secured their slot at the AFC Asian Cup Championship which will be held in Bahrain in 2020 for their sixth time respectively and 11th times in total. Oman’s junior team players earned seven points in their group D with clubbed hosts Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Syria team. Oman was one of the four best second-placed teams alongside Yemen, Indonesia and Uzbekistan from the eleven qualification groups. The top team in all the groups booked their direct ticket to the Asian finals while the best second teams joined the top winners.
The Sultanate team which was headed technically by the local coach Hilal al Aufi, commenced their campaign at the AFC Asian qualification with a 2-0 victory against Pakistan. Mashari al Hasani and Mamoun al Oraimi netted the goals for the Sultanate. Then, the national team beat Syria 1-0 as Abdullah al Jabri scored the all-the important goal in the dying minutes. Oman and the hosts played out a goalless draw in the last group match. Saudi Arabia topped the group by seven points with superior goal difference than Sultanate team which have same number of points. Pakistan and Syria teams were positioned in third and fourth places respectively as both teams had one point each.
“Oman’s qualification to the AFC Asian Cup in 2020 was not an easy task for the team. The team prepared since long time for this top continental event. Our focus now is to warm up and shape the players for the Asian finals,” coach Hilal al Aufi said. The head coach of the Sultanate thanked all the partners who supported the team to accomplish the team’s appearance in the Asian Cup. “A dedicated thanks to the OFA board member, technical staff, players and player’s parents who were patient with us. All the players delivered high technical level in all the matches. The team had good record as they did not suffer any loss and the goalkeeper’s net were saved from any goal. Despite all the challenges and difficulties including playing three matches within five days and the humidity was too high, Oman’s player succeeded to advance to the AFC Asian finals,” the national coach concluded.
The winners of all the eleven groups were: Tajikistan (A), India (B), Islamic Republic of Iran (C), Saudi Arabia (D), Qatar (E), United Arab Emirates (F), China PR (G), Australia (H), DPR Korea (I), Japan (J) and Korea Republic (K). The best four runners-up from all the groups were Yemen (E), Indonesia (G), Uzbekistan (B) and Oman (D). All the above mentioned teams will compete at AFC Asian Cup Championship in Bahrain during September 16 to October 3, 2020.