Football: Bahla emerges OFA first division league champion
Bahla Club, which last featured in top-flight domestic league in 2006-07 season, returned to the Omantel League in style on Thursday as it claimed the Oman Football Association (OFA) First Division League crown in style.
Bahla trounced Al Salam 7-1 in their concluding league fixture to lay hands on the trophy, pushing former Omantel League winners Seeb, to runner-up spot on goal-difference.
Seeb, which last month, had become the first team to confirm its promotion to the top-flight, drew 2-2 with Fanja in their concluding game.
Nine-time Omantel League winner Fanja also celebrated its return to the top-flight after an absence of a season as it finished third in the overall standings with 15 points.
Both Bahla and Seeb garnered 20 points each but the former had a vastly-superior goal-difference to Seeb. Bahla had goal-difference of 15 to Seeb’s three.
Bahla last played in the top league in the 2007-08 season when domestic football was still played as an amateur tournament and comprised only 12 teams as compared to 14 now.
Bahla had then finished at the bottom of the league to be relegated and failed to make it to the Omantel League till Thursday's big win sealed its promotion in style.
The goal-scorers for Bahla in the emphatic victory were Adama (1st minute), Hussam al Qani (11th min), Mohammed al Sawafi (18th, penalty kick), Hosni al Hinai (28th, 41st), Mohammed Yasser (45th) and Abdullah al Sawafi (84th). Waleed al Farsi scored the consolation goal for Al Salam in the 33rd minute.
OFA chairman Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi gave away the winner's shield to Bahla captain after the match in the presence of large number of Bahla fans, OFA officials and club representatives.
Fanja fans rejoice
Following the draw against Seeb, which confirmed Fanja's return to the Omantel League after a season, hundreds of fans rejoiced on the ground and took to the social media to hail its return.
Fanja is known to have one of the strongest fans' base in the sultanate and the club's glorious history comprises nine Omantel League titles and an equal number of His Majesty's Cup crowns.
It won the inaugural league in 1976-77 season after it had claimed the HM's Cup crown in 1975. It dominated the domestic football league in late seventies and mid-eighties as it won three league titles in a row from 1986-88 along with a hat-trick of HM's Cup crown from 1985-87.
It is also the only club from the sultanate to have won the GCC Clubs' title, having achieved it in 1989 after defeating Bahrain’s Al Muharraq in a penalty shootout.
Fanja was relegated last year, having won its ninth league title in 2016.