Oman aims for maiden WAFF beach football title

A file photo of an Oman player in action during a match in Qatar last January

Oman's beach football team, coached by Talib al Hilal, is determined for a title victory as it prepares for the inaugural WAFF Beach Football Championship in Qeshm Island, Iran, from May 1-5.

The tournament is being conducted by the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF).

Oman will participate in the seven-nation tournament alongside hosts Iran, Qatar, Lebanon, Bahrain, Palestine and Iraq.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Talib said, “Though it is a new championship, I believe we can win the title. My boys will surely go for it.”

The Oman team's last international outing was the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers in Qatar last January.

talib-hilal

Coach Talib Hilal

Talib's boys finished fifth in the event and failed to qualify for the finals.

The Oman coach said, “We haven't played in an international competition for a while now, but we have been having camps at home regularly. We are preparing really hard for the WAFF event. My boys are training four hours daily in the build-up to it.”

The draw for the tournament will be held on Tuesday. The teams will be pooled into two groups - one will comprise four teams while the other will have three. The top two sides from each group will progress to the semifinals.

Oman's team composition will remain more or less the same as it was for the World Cup qualifiers, said Talib.

“Right now, I have a pool of 16 national team players. I will pick a squad of ten that will leave for Iran on Sunday,” he said.

“The only new player in the team is Saeed al Farsi. He is a keeper and plays for Royal Navy of Oman side.”

Under Talib, Oman has so far clinched two major titles - the gold medal at the first Asian Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia, in 2008, and the trophy in the inaugural GCC Beach Games in Bahrain, in 2010.

He had also guided Oman to its maiden FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup campaign in Ravenna, Italy in 2011.

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