Oman goalkeepers ready for Asian Games Hockey Qualifier

Sports Sunday 04/March/2018 22:03 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman goalkeepers ready for Asian Games Hockey Qualifier

Muscat: Even as the Oman Hockey Association is gearing up to host the Asian Games Hockey Qualifier, the Sultanate squad’s goalkeepers are honing their skills under the watchful eyes of their trainer Shakir Munir.
The 2018 Asian Games Hockey Qualifier is scheduled to be organised at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex from March 8 to 17 with eight participating teams vying for five qualifying berths.
While the national team are undergoing rigorous training in their final camp before the qualifier, Shakir Munir is focussing on making the Omani goalkeepers competition ready.
“Initially we had four goalkeepers in our earlier training camps. Two of them - Fahd Al Noufali and Said Al Hasani are now ready for the Asian Games qualifiers,” Shakir Munir said.
“They are ready for the big challenge after having gained in confidence and experience during some tough matches we played against teams like Pakistan and Japan in the recent triangular series,” Shakir, a FIH certified coach, added.
“We have analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of our goalkeepers. I will continue to work hard and make them ready for the Asian Games qualifiers,” he said.
Goalkeeper Fahd Al Noufali, meanwhile, said: “Our preparations have started back in January. Since then we have undergone training camps both at home and aboard. We have also played some friendly matches, including those against Hong Kong before we took part in the traingular series. After playing some tough matches, we are ready for the qualifier.”
Fellow custodian Said Al Hasani added: “Our main objective is to qualify for the Asian Games in Jakarta. With our coach Tahir Zaman and goalkeepers trainer Shakir Munir helping us to improve our skills and the game, we are confident of achieving that goal.”
The Asian Games Hockey Qualifier was orignally planned as a nine-team event but the withdrawal of Indonesia has reduced it a eight-team affair.
While Indonesia will qualify as the hosts of 2018 Asian Games, the other eight teams will be battling for the five qualifying places to complete the 12-team hockey competition in the Asiad.
In the Qualifiers, Oman are placed in Group B along with Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan and Group A comprises Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Thailand and Afghanistan.
The five qualifying teams as well as hosts Indonesia will join India, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan and China in the hockey competition of the 2018 Asian Games scheduled to be held from August 18 to September 2.