Football: Oman get favourable draw in Asian Cup qualifiers

Sports Monday 23/January/2017 21:48 PM
By: Times News Service
Football: Oman get favourable draw in Asian Cup qualifiers

Muscat: Oman national team’s path to 2019 Asian Cup Finals has been made easy by a favourable draw in the final round of the qualifying for the continent’s premier football championship.
The draw for the final round qualifiers for the Asian Cup to be organised in the UAE in 2019 was conducted in Abu Dhabi on Monday when the Sultanate’s squad were drawn in an easy Group D along with Palestine, Maldives and Bhutan.
With top two from each of six groups assured of 12 available places in the 24-team Asian Cup, Oman are more or less — barring unlikely upsets — assured of their fourth entry into the finals of continental championship.
According to the news posted on Asian Football Confederation (AFC) website, the qualifiers, involving a total of 24 teams equally divided into six groups, will be played on home and away basis between March 2017 and March 2018.
Dutchman Pim Verbeek’s Oman will play their first match against Bhutan on March 28 this year.
Then the Omanis will take on Palestine on June 13 before playing back to back matches on Maldives on September 5 and October 10.
Oman will face Bhutan on November 14 before completing their engagements against Palestine on March 27 in 2018.
The Asian Cup will take place between January 5 and February 1 in 2019 at eight stadiums in the United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan head Group A that also comprises India, Myanmar and Macau.
North Korea are placed in Group B along with Hong Kong, Lebanon and Malaysia.
Jordan are in Group C along with Vietnam, Afghanistan and Cambodia while Group E comprises Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Chinese Taipei and Singapore.
Yemen are drawn in Group F with Philippines, Tajikistan and Nepal.
In the Asian Cup Final, the 12 qualifiers will join 12 other teams, including defending champions Australia, China, Iraq, Iran, Japan, South Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and hosts United Arab Emirates — who have already qualified through the 2018 FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2.
Logo unveiled
Meanwhile, the official logo for the championship was also launched on Monday. The colour palette in the logo consisting of black, green, red and white honours the UAE flag. The coloured ribbons are bound together to create seven hexagons, each hexagon symbolising one of the seven UAE Emirates that came together in harmony to form the spirit of the union 45 years ago.
An Islamic pattern brings regional culture and the local traditional craft of weaving to the heart of the logo identity. The dynamic logo was inspired by thousands of years of Islamic art which is represented and embodied through the pattern forming the core of the logo.
The interlacing hexagons signify the UAE’s cultural heritage of weaving — the old tradition of using Saf (palm leaves) to produce objects of beauty still seen today. The outer circle embraces geometric design creating a tribute to the great game of football that is set to unite the Asian continent in the UAE in two years’ time.
Groups: Group A: Kyrgyzstan, India, Myanmar and Macau. Group B: North Korea, Hong Kong, Lebanon and Malaysia. Group C: Jordan, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Cambodia. Group D: Oman, Palestine, Maldives and Bhutan. Group E: Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Chinese Taipei and Singapore. Group F: Philippines, Tajikistan, Yemen.
Group D schedule
March 28, 2017: Oman vs Bhutan, Maldives vs Palestine.
June 13, 2017: Bhutan vs Maldives, Palestine vs Oman.
September 5, 2017: Bhutan vs Palestine, Oman vs Maldives.
October 10, 2017: Palestine vs Bhutan, Maldives vs Oman.
November 14, 2017: Bhutan vs Oman, Palestine vs Maldives.
March 27, 2018: Oman vs Palestine, Maldives vs Bhutan.