In all, a total of 14 teams will participate in the two-monthlong championship that is being organised by the Oman Handball Association (OHA). Domestic champion Ahli- Sidab, along with Seeb, Majees, Al Shabab, Ibri, Bidiya and Quriyat are pooled in Group A, while Group B comprises Muscat, Oman, Al Ittihad, Dhofar, Al Nasr, Rustaq and Sohar.
The top two teams from each pool will progress to the semifinals. The winning team will collect RO25,000, the runner-up gets RO15,000 and the thirdplace finisher bags RO10,000. Sultan al Hosni, the OHA chairman, told Muscat Daily, “The success and smooth completion of this tournament is important for the newly-elected OHA board. For us, this is the first test and we have to deliver.” On Wednsday, Ahli-Sidab takes on Shabab while Quriyat plays Seeb.
Hosni said, “It is a big prizemoney tournament and the teams are excited about it. The season's opening tournament will help us evaluate our own performance in terms of organising events. It will help us to get ready for the domestic league that starts later in February.”
The OHA started the Ministry's Shield event in 2011 following the Royal Directive that was issued by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said in April 2011 to raise financial allocation for sports.