Muscat: As part of their preparations for the AHF Hero Asia Cup, Oman hockey team will play five ‘Test’ matches against visiting Pakistan development squad (Pakistan A) next month.
Coach K.K. Poonacha has called up 28 probables for the second of the two domestic training camps which began at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Monday.
Speaking to Times Sport after the first day of the camp, Poonacha revealed that Oman Hockey Association (OHA) has arranged five matches against Pakistan A side.
“The current camp will run till the end of this month. During these ten days we will assess the players and at the end of the camp will trim the squad to 22 players.”
“The selected 22 will gather again for another camp after Eid Al Adha holidays,” he said.
The Indian, who is in his third stint as the coach of Oman national team, added: “That camp will run from September 6 to 16. During that camp we will be playing five Test matches against Pakistan Development Team starting with the first match on September 9.”
Oman team’s goalkeeper coach Shakir Munir said the current probables group comprises four goalkeepers - Khalid Ali Al Qasmi of Ahli-Sidab, Fahad Khamis Al Nofli of Al Nasr, Amjad Abdullah Al Hosni of Bausher and Ibrahim Nasser Al Farsi of Sohar.
“When the team is pruned to 22, we will be selecting two goalkeepers who will travel with the team to our external camp and the Asia Cup,” he said.
Meanwhile, Poonacha also revealed OHA’s plans to arrange an external training camp ahead of Asia Cup, which is scheduled to take place in Bangladesh from October 11 to 22.
“The plan is to have the players train outside Oman before we reach Dhaka for the Asia Cup. We will be camping either in Malaysia or India,” he said.
Focus on the game
Speaking about the competition in Asia Cup, where Oman are placed in Pool B along with South Korea, China and Malaysia, Poonacha said: “There are no easy groups at this level. Our team is good. But the players have to focus on the game and keep improving. I am sure they will give their best in the Asia Cup.”
Pool A comprises India, Pakistan, Japan and hosts Bangladesh.
In Dhaka, Oman will start their campaign with a match against South Korea on October 12. The Sultanate squad will play their remaining pool matches against China on October 14 and Malaysia on October 16.
The tournament’s Super 4s and classification matches will take place betwen October 18 and 21 while the final is slated for October 22.
The Asia Cup winners will directly qualify for the World Cup which is be organised in Bhubaneswar, India from November 28 to December 16, 2018.
Oman probables: Khalid Ali Al Qasmi (goalkeeper), Assad Mubarak Al Qasmi, Salah Nasir Al Saadi, Abdullah Hamood Al Alawi, Khalid Juma Al Shaaibi, Ammar Juma Al Shaaibi, Rashad Al Fazari (Ahli-Sidab), Fahad Khamis Al Nofli (goalkeeper), Ahmed Sabil Al Balushi, Younis Ghabish Al Nofali, Basim Khatir Rajab, Khalid Al Balushi, Faisal Said Al Loun, Ahmed Said Al Noufali, Fawad Ali Khadim (Al Nasr), Shafi Talib Ramadhan, Hashim Ganum Al Shatri, Maggdi Khamis Jaman (Dhofar), Mahmood Salim Al Hosni, Marwan Abdul Rehman, Qasim Moosa Khalfan Al Shibli, Mohammed Hassan Al Lawati (Seeb), Khalid Mubarak Al Batashi, Muhanna Nasir Al Hosni, Amjad Abdullah Al Hosni (Bausher), Ahmed Yousaf Al Amri (Sohar), Ahmed Badar Zahir (Salalah), Mohammed Sulaiman Al Noufali (Al Salam) and Ibrahim Nasser Al Farsi (Sohar).
Asia Cup fixtures:
Pool A: India, Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh
Pool B: Malaysia, South Korea, China, Oman
October 11: India vs Japan; Pakisan vs Bangladesh
October 12: Malaysia vs China; South Korea vs Oman
October 13: Japan vs Pakistan; India vs Bangladesh
October 14: China vs Oman; South Koea vs Malaysia
October 15: Japan vs Bangladesh; Pakistan vs India
October 16: Malaysia vs Oman; China vs South Korea
October 18-21: Super 4s, classification matches
October 22: third place play-off, final