National football team to hold preparatory camp in Germany

Jassim al Shukaili, OFA vice-chairman (second from left) at a press conference held at the OFA headquarters on Monday (Muscat Daily)

On a day when the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced that the draw for 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers will be held in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on July 17, the Oman Football Association (OFA) also revealed its calendar for its national teams.

At a press conference on Monday, Jassim al Shukaili, OFA vice-chairman and national teams’ committee chairman, announced that as part of the national team's preparations for the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers, the team will hold an overseas camp in Germany from July 17-August 6. 

During the camp, the Red Warriors are expected to play an international friendly.

With Oman featuring in the World Cup and Asian qualifiers, to be played between September 5 to June 9 next year, OFA is making attempts to  arrange friendlies for Erwin Koeman's side ahead of the match days to ensure ideal preparations for the Red Warriors.

Shukaili, who was flanked by national team's assistant coach Muhanna Said al Adawi, and national teams' manager Mohammed al Alawi, said the team will also play friendlies ahead of its Gulf Cup title defence.

The 24th edition of the Gulf Cup is scheduled to be held in Qatar between December 2019-January 2020.Koeman has announced 34 probables for a two-day domestic camp, beginning on July 15, with 26 players to be shortlisted for the preparatory camp in Germany.Shukaili also briefed about the U19, U16, beach soccer and futsal national teams programmes.

While the U16 and U19 teams will begin its qualifying campaign for a berth in the finals of the respective Asian championships, the beach soccer side will take part in the qualifiers of the inaugural World Beach Games in US later this year.

As for the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers, Oman is among the 40 nations, which will be drawn into eight groups of five teams with seedings based on the latest FIFA world rankings released earlier this month. Oman is placed in Pot 2 with Iraq, Uzbekistan, Syria, Lebanon, Kyrgyz Republic, Vietnam and Jordan.

Twelve teams - eight group winners and four best runners-up - advance to both the Asian Cup finals to be held in China and the final round of World Cup qualifiers. The next best 24 teams will compete in a separate round of qualifiers to fight for the remaining 12 slots in the 24-team Asian Cup.

The final team in Pot 5 is yet to be decided after Sri Lanka's second-leg with Macau was cancelled when the team from the former Portuguese colony refused to travel to Colombo citing safety concerns following the Easter Sunday attacks in April. Macau lead 1-0 on aggregate after the first-leg earlier this month.

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