Basheer to retire after Gulf Cup

Oman’s veteran midfielder Fauzi Basheer has announced his retirement from national duty after the Gulf Cup in Manama, Bahrain.

Speaking to Muscat Daily on Friday, ahead of Oman’s final league game against the UAE, Basheer said, “Yes, I have decided to quit. I have served the nation for a long time.”

Basheer, who was substituted midway through the match against Qatar which Oman lost 1-2, is reportedly not enjoying a good relationship with coach Paul Le Guen.

The Frenchman had dropped Basheer from the opening match against hosts Bahrain and had brought the player along to the press conference before the Qatar game to refute reports of a rift between the two.

However, sources in the team told Muscat Daily, “Basheer has announced his retirement a couple of times in the past. He is now 34 and does realise that there is not enough time remaining for him in the squad as he is being pushed hard by the younger players.

“But the Oman Football Association (OFA) is keen to retain his services for the remaining World Cup qualifiers. We will wait and see what happens after the Gulf Cup.”

Basheer, who plays for UAE club Dhafra, reiterated that he is serious about retirement this time. Asked if the retirement had anything to do with his relationship with the coach, the player said, “No comments.”

Basheer and Le Guen are reported to have started drifting apart nearly a year and a half ago when the coach replaced the midfielder with Ali al Habsi as captain during the World Cup qualifying match against Australia late in 2011.

Media reports suggested fresh differences between the two after the friendly against Togo in Sohar last month.

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