Bigger chance for Oman to play in World Cup: Verbeek

Oman Coach Pim Verbeek

With the football World Cup set to feature as many as 48 nations from 2026 onwards, as announced on Tuesday by the sport’s world body FIFA, Oman coach Pim Verbeek sees the country’s chances of appearing in the showpiece event going up considerably. Verbeek told Muscat Daily, “Countries like Oman will have now a bigger chance to get into the World Cup.”

The governing council of FIFA unanimously voted in favour of an expanded World Cup in Zurich.

The World Cup pool will go up from the existing 32 to 48, come 2026. The FIFA is yet to allocate the 48 slots among the six continental confederations.

Asia currently has four World Cup berths, with a fifth available through a playoff. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the world’s second biggest with 46 full members - after Europe.

The 60 year old Verbeek, who is a veteran of three World Cups as a coach, said, “With the chances of Oman rising, it is even more important to keep on improving the youth [development] system in the country during the coming years. The youth teams will provide the players for the future.”

The experienced Dutchman was assistant to South Korea coach Guus Hiddink during the 2002 World Cup; then served as deputy to another Dutch coach, Dick Advocaat, again with South Korea, during the 2006 World Cup. Verbeek then steered Australia in the 2010 World Cup.

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