Oman beach soccer team to play friendlies in China

February 18, 2012

A file photo of the Oman team training during the 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Ravenna, Italy

Oman’s beach soccer team will prepare for the 2012 Asian Beach Games with a tour of China from March 27 to April 5.

The Beach Games will take place in Haiyang, China in June. While touring the country on the invitation of the Chinese Football Association, Oman will play three friendly games against the host nation.

This will be Oman's only tour ahead of the competition, which is causing concern for coach Talib Hilal.

He said, “I think this time we are too late. China is so far our only foreign camp planned ahead of the Haiyang Games. Before Muscat Asian Beach Games in 2010, we played around 20 international games in different tournaments and friendly tours. This time we will enter the competition with only six to eight proper games before the main event.”

Despite this, Talib says he will use the tour to bring new players into the team. He is particularly looking to strengthen the goalkeeping department following the retirement of both captain Salim Said and back-up Khalid al Dhanki.

“I have selected a few new players and the China tour would be a good chance for them to show their skills. I have to get the right combination in place before the Games.

“Our main worry is our goalkeeping department. We need someone like Said or Dhanki to be a complete team.”

Oman enters the Beach Games as one of the favourites. With Talib at the helm, Oman won gold at the inaugural Games in Bali in 2008. During the Muscat Games in 2008 the sultanate finished second. Talib also guided Oman to the FIFA Beach World Cup last year in Italy.

Meanwhile, as part of the forthcoming tour to China, Talib has called 15 probables for a one-week training camp that began on Saturday at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.

Probables for the camp: Yahya al Araimi, Jalal al Sinani, Khalid al Rajhi, Ishaq al Maas, Hani Dhabit, Faisal al Balushi, Yaqoob Rabee'a, Suleiman al Wardi, Faisal al Nasri, Mohammed al Naabi, Yaqoub Juma, Younis al Ruzaiqi, Mohammed al Dheeb, Ali Talib, Ahmed al Hatali.