Coaches face the heat in Oman’s new pro league: Three sacked in just two weeks

Barely a fortnight into the inaugural Omantel Professional League (OPL), three of the 14 clubs have already fired their coaches on various grounds, including poor performance and inadequate coaching licences.

Salalah's Al Ittihad was on Saturday the latest club to join the ongoing firing spree when it axed Frenchman Noureddine Abu Falgha after the team's 2-4 defeat to Fanja at the Seeb Sports Stadium.

The OPL requires clubs from this season onwards to hire only coaches who have the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) 'A' licence or its equivalent. The clubs had all been told to strictly adhere to this norm before the league got underway.

Saham, which upset domestic champion Suwaiq on Saturday, played the game without its regular coach after dismissing Romania's Cioaba Aristica following its 0-2 shock loss to Al Musannah in the opening round on September 14.

Jordan's Ahmed Abdel-Qader has been named as Saham's new coach. The 44 year old, who is a former Jordan U20 coach and senior national team assistant coach, is expected to arrive in Muscat on Tuesday.

Earlier, Al Arouba terminated its contract with Tunisian coach Omar Meziane shortly after its first-round defeat to Seeb.

Arouba then handed the reins to veteran Omani coach Khalfan Zaid. The club has now roped in France’s Patrick Hesse.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Saifuddin, the OPL's technical consultant, confirmed to Muscat Daily that Musabbah al Saadi, coach of Al Suwaiq, had cleared his AFC 'A' licence course before the OPL began and that the league had got a clearance in this regard from the AFC.

Saadi is yet to receive his certificate from the AFC, though.

Among the other foreign coaches involved in OPL duty are Seeb's Jeejo Peter (Romania), Al Shabab's Idriz al Murabati (Morocco), Fanja's Hicham Jadrane (Spain), Sohar's Abdul Razzak Kheri (Morocco), Majees' Senad Kreso (Bosnia), Sur's Ashraf Kasem (Egypt), Dhofar's Dragan Talajic (Croatia) and Al Nasr's Moscofetch Nebosha (Serbia).

Sur-Majees match to be replayed:

Meanwhile, the OPL’s disciplinary panel on Sunday decided to replay the match between Sur and Majees. The September 20 game was called off by referee Fahd al Subhi on the premise that the teams were ‘wearing similar-coloured jerseys’. The panel, however, ruled that Subhi had erred in his judgement.

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