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2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: 'We are here to get points and progress to next round,' says Oman coach ahead of India clash

SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
04 Sep 2019, 23:45 IST

Erwin Koeman will spearhead Oman's challenge against India in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Erwin Koeman will spearhead Oman's challenge against India in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

India and Oman will kickstart their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers campaign on Thursday when they lock horns against each other at the Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati.

Oman football team's head coach Erwin Koeman was wary of the threat India posed but made it clear that he is here to collect three points and ensure their progress to the next round of World Cup Qualifiers remain as smooth as possible.

We are very much prepared. But, it will be a tough game tomorrow. I have a lot of respect for the Indian football team. The investment in Indian football is growing and it is very nice to see that. But, we are here to get points and progress to the next round.

Oman football team captain Ahmed Mubarak Obaid Al Mahajiri was also full praise of the progress made by the Indian football team.

The Indian team has, of course, improved a lot in the past 3-4 years. They performed even well in the Asian Cup. But, as a player, we are prepared well to take their challenge.

Oman haven't tasted defeat through India's hands in their last six encounters and has easier opponents in the form of Afghanistan and Bangladesh in their group. However, their head coach made it amply clear that they are not overconfident heading into the fixture.

Every game of football is not easy. It will be a big mistake if we think we have an easy job in our hands. We can lose from the worst team as well if we are not prepared. If we think like that we will lose.

Coincidentally, Oman's 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers also began by facing India in their first fixture. They had pipped India 2-1 at home and finished second in the group. However, their head coach Erwin Koeman refused to play down that advantage as the circumstances are completely different now.

I follow everything so I know about that game. But, that was four years ago. For india it is a different game, and for Oman it is a different game. We have different players and different coaches. Plus it is a (World Cup) Qualification game not a friendly game. So, stakes are higher.
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When asked if there will be pressure on the Oman side as they will be surrounded by Indian fans who will throng the stadiums, the Dutchman replied that there will be no pressure on the team.

I don't feel any pressure. I know what we can do. It is a Qualification game, different than a friendly. The crowd will support indian team. But, we have good players. Tomorrow is all about points and the team likes that.

The weather in Guwahati currently varies drastically with that of Oman. But, their captain Ahmed affirmed that it should not play a factor when deciding the outcome of the match.

Regarding weather, we have played in the same weather many times before, either in Oman or in other countries. That is not a good excuse as we are here to win the match and get points.

When asked if Oman will deploy any special tactics to hold Indian players, their head coach Koeman replied that it is not good to fear the opponents.

We believe in ourselves. There are better teams than oman. But, tomorrow is our first game and we will give everything. India will also say the same. They too want to go to the next round just like us. So, i am looking forward to a big fight tomorrow. I think we have a good team. But finally, when the referee blows his whistle tomorrow, everything is different. Even in life every day is different and you have to deal with the circumstances.
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