Muscat: With the Oman Football Association (OFA) chief Sheikh Salim Al Wahaibi revealing the board’s decision to review the Sultanate’s national team’s recent performances and the contract of coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro, and the Spaniard’s subsequent decision not to renew his one-year contract, there is a likelihood of Under-23 team coach Hamad Al Azzani being handed the reins of the first team.
If the sources have to be believed, Hamad Al Azzani, who had previously had successful coaching stints with the first national team both as a caretaker coach as well as assistant to Czech Republic’s Milan Macala, is the favourite to succeed Lopez Caro.
While it is believed that most of the OFA officials are in support of Hamad Al Azzani taking over as the coach, the two other main factors that may work in favour of the Omani coach are financial deficit and the lack of time to start the recruitment process before Oman’s forthcoming international engagements.
According to sources, the new OFA board has inherited the financial deficit of over OMR 2 million while the members have the responsibility of providing the national team proper coaching set up before they start their campaign in the next round of Asian Cup qualifiers, which are scheduled to start in March next year, and the Gulf Cup which is scheduled to be held in December 2017 in Qatar.
Meanwhile, the OFA board members are scheduled to a hold a crucial meeting on Wednesday afternoon under the chairmanship of Sheikh Salim bin Said Al Wahaibi.
According to information received from the association, the members will discuss a lot of important issues, the most significant being the selecting the successor to the national team coach Lopez Caro.
The contract of Lopez Caro, who guided Oman to a 3-0 victory over Myanmar in a friendly match after a string of poor results, will expire in January next year.
The OFA officials are said to be also looking into the list of foreign coaches, especially from the East European and Latin American region, including former Yemen coach Tom Saintfiet of Belgium.
New General Secretary
Meanwhile, it is also learnt that Omantel Professional League CEO Sheikh Shabib Al Hosni is likely to be made the new general secretary of the association thanks to his experience, his communication skills and his relations with the people inside and outside the OFA.