It was celebration in rain as Al Nasr dethroned Ahli-Sidab to regain His Majesty’s Cup Hockey Championship crown at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC) on Thursday night. The Salalah giant edged past its rival 2-1 in a match played in rain and cool conditions to claim its eighth title. It had last won in 2017 when it defeated Seeb 3-0 in the final. For Ahli-Sidab, its hopes of achieving a record 12th title was dashed as its players struggled to cope with the conditions and soaked pitch. It was the eighth crown for Al Nasr, which is next only to Ahli-Sidab and Seeb clubs, who have won it 11 times.
In a match that witnessed all the three goals in the first quarter, Al Nasr defence stood firm to deny Ahli-Sidab in the remaining three quarters for a deserving victory. Al Nasr coach Mohammed al Batrani said that his boys had ‘achieved the goal of winning the title’. “We had good plans and it is a result of teamwork and hardwork,” he said after the match.
Hamed Razi and Mohammed Ameen scored for Al Nasr while Jandan Singh got for Ahli-Sidab. Al Salam Club, which won the bronze medal, also had its player, Mohammed al Noufali, receive the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
Also Al Salam’s goalie Ibrahim al Farsi claimed the best goalkeeper award while Mohammed Hassan al Lawati of Seeb emerged as the top-scorer with ten goals. Later, H E Sheikh Saif bin Mohammed al Shabibi, Minister of Housing, awarded the trophy and other awards in the presence of H E Sheikh Saad al Saadi, Minister of Sports Affairs, Oman Hockey Association (OHA) chairman Talib al Wahaibi, and other guests.
Besides the glittering trophy, Al Nasr took home a cash award of RO40,000 while Ahli-Sidab received RO25,000. Al Salam took home a cash award of RO15,000. A total of 11 clubs had entered in the fray of the oldest domestic tournament in the sultanate. Also for the first time, the OHA used the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system in the prestigious domestic tournament.