Muscat: Three Omani women, all related to national football legend Ali Al Habsi, died in a road accident while travelling from Mecca to Medina in Saudi Arabia on Monday night.
“My aunt, uncle’s wife and cousin’s wife died in a car accident in Saudi Arabia,” said a brother of Al Habsi.
“After finishing their Umrah, they were heading to Medina when they met with a car accident at around a quarter to eight, Saudi time. “Three are dead, but another three are injured. We appreciate the assistance of the Saudi Arabian authorities and they were very quick in getting to the scene of the accident and taking them to hospital,” he added. “We also want to thank the Omani and Saudi governments because the moment they knew they were related to Al Habsi, they offered to help in any way possible.”
Al Habsi, who plays for Football Championship side Reading FC in the UK and is captain of the Oman National Football Team, tweeted that his relatives had died “inside the world’s best places” – referring to Mecca and Medina and the fact that his family had been on a pilgrimage.
“My dear family, I will not condole you, but I am congratulating you on the happy ending of our mums and sisters inside the world’s best places, Mecca and Medina, and their final resting place, Al Baqei,” he wrote, while a second tweet reads: “To my brothers and sisters who mourned for me, the loss of loved ones and being apart from them is painful, nothing relieves pain, but people like you who have pure hearts and pure feelings.”
The Oman Football Association also offered their condolences to Al Habsi and his family.
“Our condolences are with the family, and we hope God will ease their suffering,” said Dr. Ahmed Al Farsi, the acting CEO and General Secretary for the Oman Football Association. “We are very sad about the accident and we hope that God will look after their souls in heaven.”
“We have not been in touch with Ali Al Habsi personally, but from our side, some of the members of our board and the Deputy Chairman will go and visit the remaining family members in Medina, and convey to them our sadness over this accident,” added Al Farsi, who is also a member of the OFA’s Board of Directors. "I don’t know if the bodies will come back to Oman, but I have heard that they will remain in Saudi Arabia because Medina is a very holy place."
Al Habsi became the first Middle Easterner to play in the Premier League, doing so when he signed for Bolton Wanderers in 2006. He is also the first Omani to win the FA Cup, which he won with Wigan Athletic in 2013.