Dominant Dhofar

April 28, 2019

Dhofar players celebrate after their win over Al Nahda to clinch the Omantel League crown at the Buraimi Sports Complex in Buraimi.

Since the launch of the Omantel top-flight league in 1976, two clubs that have dominated the tournament have been either Fanja or Dhofar. Of the 43 winners decided so far, the clubs share nearly half of them with 20 titles between them.

On Wednesday night, Dhofar lifted its 11th title in style as it trounced hosts Al Nahda 3-0 at the Buraimi Sports Complex to claim an unassailable lead with five more rounds to go for the conclusion of the 2018-19 Omantel League.

Its nearest rival and another Salalah heavyweight, Al Nasr, won its match against Muscat 1-0 on Thursday but with five rounds to go and 15 points at stake, Dhofar (55 points) had already taken an unbeatable 16-point lead to spark celebrations in the club and among its fans in Salalah.

Dhofar regained the domestic title after a gap of only an year and its domination this season is clearly evident. The club has remained unbeaten in all the 21 matches it has played so far in the league, winning 17 games and drawing four.

Dhofar's victorious journey began with its first title in 1982-83 season and it followed with its second two seasons later in 1984-85.

However, the team’s golden period began with its third title in 1989-90 as it captured a hat-trick of crowns from 1991-92 to 1993-94. Following a gap of four years, Dhofar regained its glory in 1999-99 season with its seventh title. Its winning momentum continued as it began with the title to kick-start the new millennium (2000-01) and then won in 2004-05.

The glory days then took a slump for the club as it failed to win a title till 2016-17, a gap of 11 years. The tenth title surpassed the record of nine crowns held by Fanja when it edged Al Shabab  by three points.

Meanwhile the fight for the runner-up spot seems to be going in favour of Al Nasr as it extended its lead over third-placed Al Nahda to four points after its win over Muscat.

Closely trailing Al Nahda is fourth-placed Saham and fifth-placed Al Arouba with 32 and 30 points respectively.

The mid-table has a difference of one point between Mirbat (29) and Rustaq and Suwaiq (28 each) while Al Shabab, Sur and Majees are in drop zone.

Meanwhile in the matches played on Wednesday and Thursday, Mirbat handed recently-crowned HM’s Cup champion Sur a 2-0 defeat while Rustaq was an emphatic 5-2 winner of Oman.

Also winning was Al Arouba, a 3-2 winner over Majees and Saham edged past last edition’s winner Al Suwaiq 2-1 and Sohar was held 1-1 by Al Shabab.

Standings [after 21 rounds]: 1 Dhofar (55 points), 2 Al Nasr (39), 3 Al Nahda (34), 4 Saham (32), 5 Al Arouba (30), 6 Mirbat (29), 7 Rustaq (28), 8 Suwaiq (28), 9 Sohar (27), 10 Muscat (26), 11 Oman (21), 12 Al Shabab (20), 13 Sur (16), 14 Majees (16).