Oman's Al Hassani delighted to earn 100th cap
February 27, 2018 | 9:35 PM
by Sports Reporter
Oman captain Mahmood Al Hassani being honoured during Oman Triangular Series Hockey Tournament at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex recently. Photo - Supplied

Muscat: In a rare achievement, Mahmood Al Hassani recently donned the Sultanate’s colours for the 100th time when he led the national team against Japan in the recent Oman Triangular Series hockey tournament at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.

The Sultanate squad’s captain, who has been one of the main pillars of Omani team over the years, is delighted with his rare distinction of becoming the first Omani to play 100 international matches.

“I am obviously delighted with this achievement,” Mahmood Al Hassani said while speaking about his career and Oman team’s future assignments.

Like many of his current teammates, the Omani captain, who is known for his skills as well as his understanding of the game, is a product of Hockey Training Centres.

It is at Muscat region's Hockey Training Centre, which run under the supervision of the Ministry of Sports Affairs, that Mahmood Al Hassani honed his skills under Egyptian coach Yasser Al Shazly.

“I have started my journey at the Muscat training centre, learning the basics from coach Yasir Al Shazali. That’s where I developed my love for the game and started I got involved more with hockey,” he recalled.

And it was in 2006 that Mahmood earned the first of his 100 caps with the Omani national team.

“The year 2006 was the most important one my hockey playing career. I got the opportunity to wear the national team shirt for the first. The feeling was inexplicable. I felt very proud,” he said.

While Mahmood went on to represent Oman in various Asian and international level tournament, he also excelled at the domestic level winning many accolades.

The Omani star has won the best player award in the Oman Hockey Association League twice and also bagged the best defender award. Mahmood also won the best player award in His Majesty’s Cup championship.

But his best achievement till date, and one which every hockey player dreams of, is lifting the coveted His Majesty’s Cup with Seeb.

Asian Games Qualifier

Speaking about the national team’s immediate international assignments under Pakistani coach Tahir Zaman, the Omani captain said: “Tahir Zaman is undoubtedly one of the best coaches. He has been an experienced player himself. His training methods praiseworthy and more importantly he also understands the psychology of the players, which is vital to get the best out of the team.”

“I have personally learned a lot and improved as a player since he took over as our national team coach,” he added.

Mahmood also revealed how the entire team are looking forward for the forthcoming 2018 Asian Games Hockey Qualifier to be hosted by the Oman Hockey Association at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex from March 2 and 10.

“We have benefited immensely from our recent training camps and the matches we have played. Thanks to the efforts of the coaching and technical staff we are ready for the Asian Games qualifying tournament,” he said.

“We all want to give our best in the tournament and our goal is to qualify for the Asian Games in Indonesia. We are also hoping to do well in the Asian Games with the ultimate aim of improving our world ranking.”

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