We’re proud to represent Oman at the Junior World Cup
April 4, 2018 | 7:15 PM
by Times News Service
Even though football is a sport, it is also a bridge between different nationalities and culture.

#ReadersResponse: Fresh from representing Oman at the Junior World Cup, the players, coaches and parents of Muscat Football Academy are proud to have seen the Sultanate’s flag fly in Spain.

Two teams from the MFA represented Oman at the under-9 and under-11 age groups at the Mundialito — Spanish for Junior World Cup — in Catalonia, Spain, where they played alongside youth teams which included some of the world’s best clubs.

Regular arrivals at the Mundialito include Portuguese giants FC Porto and Sporting Lisbon, England’s Liverpool, Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, Spanish teams FC Barcelona, Atletico de Madrid, Valencia CF, Sevilla FC, UD Levante, Deportivo La Coruna, and the Turkish quartet Galatasaray, Besiktas, Altinordu, and Fenerbahce.

“My sons have been playing with the academy since it started,” said Lina Omar, whose younger son was representing MFA at the current Mundialito.

“It is very important to have this, because in Muscat this sort of interaction is not there with other teams. All the teams are local. Here, they first go to the opening ceremony and see all these teams participating, and they feel like one of these teams.

“In our team, there are many nationalities, so it is good for them to know that they are part of something bigger,” she added. “There are lessons you learn at such tournaments, such as the importance of learning to work with others. There are many different cultures here, because this is a very positive thing that helps them deal with future events in their life. They may have friends from here, and when they go to study in the future, they may meet them there, so you never know.”

Lina’s son, Nath, added, “It’s nice, and I have learned how to play better football and also learned how to keep the ball with my feet. I have learned how to wake up early in the morning, because all the games here begin early. It feels really good to interact with people from other countries, because I can make better friends, and they also teach me how to play better.”

Shakir Haroun, another parent who had come with the MFA teams, said, “I really wished I had tournaments like this to look forward to when I was a youngster. Some of the experiences these kids are getting to have is something that you can never, ever get. Being able to say that you played with the elite squads of Liverpool, Inter Milan, Juventus or Chelsea is something you can never take away from them. You never know, you might be playing against the next Messi today.

“You also might be playing against future Champions League and World Cup winners, and being able to experience this is special,” he added. “Even though football is a sport, it is also a bridge between different nationalities and culture. On the pitch, everyone talks the same language.”

Ahmed Al Busaidi, another player from MFA, was very excited to be in Spain.

“This is my third year at Mundialito, and I think I’ve gotten used to it over the years,” he said, speaking to Times of Oman, which was in Spain covering the tournament. “I think we did really well, because we got into the Bronze Cup. I think at a tournament like Mundialito, we need to do things as a team. Everything we do at Mundialito, we do as a team.”

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