Fanja, Seeb look for victories

Action from the inaugural OPL match between Seeb and Al Arouba last week (Muscat Daily)

Fanja and Seeb are looking forward to collecting full points when they get down to action in the coming weekend in the inaugural Omantel Professional League (OPL).

Seeb plays two-time domestic champion Al Nahda at the latter's club ground on Thursday, while Fanja takes on Al Ittihad at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Saturday.

The coaches of Fanja and Seeb both sounded upbeat at the first pre-match press meet organised by OPL at the Oman Football Association's (OFA) headquarters on Tuesday.

In their openers, Seeb had defeated Al Arouba 1-0, but Fanja was held by Al Shabab to a 1-1 draw.

Jeejo

Seeb coach Jeejo Peter

Fanja coach, Spain's Hicham Jadrane, isn't too happy with the criticism he has received for not packing his squad with senior players at this stage. “Although we have a lot of national team players, they cannot be made available all the time,” Jadrane argued.

“We cannot keep relying on only one set of players. We are trying to develop a youth team for a stable future.”

The Fanja coach said that his latest signing, Oman striker Abdulaziz al Miqbali, will sit out with injury for ten days.

“We will have to experiment with our formation since Miqbali won't get to play the game against Ittihad,” he said.

Hicham

Fanja coach Hicham Jadrane

Meanwhile, Jeejo Peter, Seeb's Romanian coach, considers Al Nahda to be a tough rival, but expects his team to put on a good show.

Speaking on the launch of the OPL, he said, “I'm thoroughly impressed with the way matches have been conducted so far. I'm glad they are allowing only licensed coaches to take charge. There's still a long way to go, but I can assure you that we are heading in the right direction at the right pace.”

OPL CEO Sheikh Shabib al Hosni and Mohammed Safiuddin Abu Baker, the league's technical consultant, also spoke on the occasion.

Hosni said, “We have positives and negatives to take out from the first week of the OPL. We are constantly working towards making the league successful. The efforts taken by some clubs have been commendable. We hope the others will follow suit by the time the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) members arrive on September 23 for inspection.”

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