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Sayyid Shihab backs OFA’s efforts to tackle COVID-19

7 Jul 2020 By ASHOK PUROHIT

Seeb Club chairman H H Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik al Said praised the efforts and the decisions of the Oman Football Association (OFA) in dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He also urged all the clubs and sports organisations to work together and follow the recommendations of the Supreme Committee in fighting the coronavirus.

 

Seeb Club has been in a terrific form this season in the Omantel League and are in pole position to clinch the top honours for the first time. The three-time His Majesty’s Cup winners are leading by five points from their nearest rivals and defending champion Dhofar with just five games remaining.

Seeb had hosted the top-of-the-table clash on March 14 and with the teams sharing the spoils 1-1, Seeb fans’ hopes have been raised as the club pursues the elusive title.

However, all sports activities in Oman were suspended soon after by the Ministry for Sports Affairs on the recommendations of the Supreme Committee on COVID-19.

Last week, the Oman Football Association (OFA) after a meeting with the repesentatives of the clubs in the top-flight league announced that the Omantel League will resume once it gets the go-ahead from the sports ministry. 

The decision came as a relief for the large Seeb fans, who feared that there could be an abandonment of the league and their dreams shattered.

On Monday, the Seeb Club chairman, H H Sayyid Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik al Said, in a statement, welcomed the OFA’s decision on the Omantel League and its efforts to fight the pandemic.

The OFA chairman, Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi, had said that the Omantel League will be held under strict health protocols and in coordination with the related government agencies.

“We will have to wait for the Supreme Committee decision and the instructions from the Ministry of Sports Affairs to resume the league. As of now, the decision is to have the league and all sports activities suspended till September,” he said.

Sayyid Shihab, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister of Defence Affairs, lauded the OFA’s decision to resume the 2019-20 top-flight league despite the challenging conditions caused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sayyid Shihab said that ‘the decision to suspend the league and other sports activities was correct and showed that the government was serious in its efforts to curb the pandemic’. 

Globally, sports activities including the biggest events like Tokyo Olympics, Wimbledon and top-flight football leagues in Europe were stopped around the same time.

Sayyid Shihab urged all the sports clubs and related organisations for youth to join hands in the fight against COVID-19 and follow the advise and instructions of the Supreme Committee on tackling coronavirus.

Sayyid Shihab praised His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik al Said for closely following the developments of the Supreme Committee and the concerted efforts made by various related bodies.

The Seeb Club supremo congratulated the youth achievers of Oman over the years and said ‘youth plays a very important role in the development of a nation’ and Oman is ‘proud of its youth’.

Meanwhile, the Seeb Club vice-president, Yousuf al Wahaibi, said that they are open to any decisions taken by the OFA and the sports ministry with regard to the football season even later.

“We know that we are close to the elusive top-flight league title, a trophy that has been missing for long. But we are prepared for any verdict from the OFA and the government even later as the top priority for us is to safeguard the health of the people. We hope that league will reach the conclusion and we could celebrate a dream season.”

After 23 rounds in the 14-team Omantel League, Seeb leads with 50 points that includes just one defeat, eight draws and 14 wins. Dhofar is second with 45 and Al Nahda is third with 34. Mirbat has already been relegatedwith Al Arouba, Oman and  Bahla fighting in a relegation battle.

Also, the other major tournament yet to be completed in the domestic football is the His Majesty’s Cup with the second round of semifinals yet to be completed.

Ibri leads Al Arouba 2-1 with the second-leg away and Al Nahda drew with Dhofar 1-1 at home in the mathches held on February 18. The second-leg games were scheduled on March 17.

Besides football, Seeb Club is the record holder of His Majesty’s Cup for Youth, a symbol of club supremacy. The club has won it 12 times and was runner-up in 2019.

 

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