AFC Asian Cup 2019: Team Preview Oman
Dutch coach Pim Verbeek has an experienced squad at his disposal, and they have had an ideal preparation for the AFC Asian Cup too. Verbeek aims to take Oman through to the quarter-finals for the first time in the history of the Championships.
Oman suffered a narrow defeat against South Korea in the opening game in 2015. They were inept to reciprocate a similar form in their subsequent encounter and got hammered 0-4 by Australia.
They concluded their campaign with a victory over Kuwait to finish in the 12th position with Abdulaziz Al-Muqbali being their lone scorer in the tournament against The Blues.
Oman made their debut in 2004 and since then have qualified for every edition of the Championship.
They would like to go one better this time and qualify for the knock-outs in Emirates. With two victories from nine matches along with three draws and four defeats, they have a win percentage of 22%.
Oman underwent a good preparation for the Asian Cup playing 12 matches in 2018. They won five of their encounters all against lower-ranked opponents.
They lost only a single game last year in which they got drubbed 0-5 by the Australians. They drew six of their games of which three were against Ecuador, Emirates, and Syria.
I expect Faiz Al-Rushaidi to play a crucial role for Oman after Ali Al-Habsi withdrew from the squad because of injury. He shot into fame during the 2017 Gulf Cup of Nations when he produced two brilliant saves from Omar Abdulrahman to claim the title for Oman.
Al-Nassr defender Saad Al-Mukhaini will command an experienced defensive line for Oman having appeared for them in 103 internationals till date.
His communication with Al-Rushaidi and the other defenders would allow the Omani midfielders to press forward during counter-attacks.
Wednesday, 09 January 2019: Oman (82) vs Uzbekistan (95) - Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah at 19:00 IST.
Sunday, 13 January 2019: Oman (82) vs Japan (50) - Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi at 19:00 IST.
Thursday, 17 January 2019: Oman (82) vs Turkmenistan (127) - Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi at 19:00 IST.
Oman boasts an impressive 4-1 record in head-to-head meetings against Uzbekistan, and they will lock horns yet again which would decide the way it shapes down the numbers two and three in Group F.
They are unlikely to trouble Japan after losing eight of their eleven encounters against them. They should surge past Turkmenistan to finish in either the second or third spot.
They would meet either Syria/Jordan if they finish in the second spot or will take on South Korea in the round of 16 if they end up in the third place.
Average Age: 26 years.
International Caps: 842.
International Goals: 55.
Head Coach: Pim Verbeek (Netherlands).
Goalkeepers: Ammar Al-Rushaidi (Al-Suwaiq), Faiz Al-Rushaidi (Al-Ain), Ahmed Al-Rawahi (Al-Nasr).
Defenders: Mohammed Al-Musalami (Dhofar), Mohammed Faraj (Al-Wakrah), Mohammed Al-Shiba (Al-Nahda), Sa'ad Suhail (Al-Nassr), Khalid Al-Braiki (Al-Nasr), Ali Al-Busaidi (Dhofar), Mahmood Al-Mushaifri (Al-Nasr).
Midfielders: Yaseen Al-Sheyadi (Al-Suwaiq), Mohsin Al-Khaldi (Sohar SC), Ahmed Kano (captain) (Al-Mesaimeer), Ali Al-Jabri (Al-Nahda), Salaah Al-Yahyaei (Dhofar), Mataz Saleh (Dhofar), Harib Al-Saadi (Dhofar).
Strikers: Mohamed Khasib (Al-Nahda), Raed Ibrahim Saleh (Valletta FC), Khalid Al-Hajri (Al-Nasr), Mohammed Al-Ghassani (Saham Club), Jameel Al-Yahmadi (Al-Wakrah), Muhsen Al-Ghassani (Al-Suwaiq).