Doha The Omani fans expressed their extreme anger at the performance of their country in the 2023 Asian Cup Qatar, after their early exit from the first round in a group that included the teams of Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Kyrgyzstan.
The fans' anger after Oman's draw with Kyrgyzstan (1-1) was directed at the football system, starting with Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic, passing through the players, and ending with the Omani Federation, which demanded that he take responsibility or resign.
Oman's final match witnessed a touch of loyalty from the Qatar National Team Fans Association, which gathered in the stands to support the Omanis, and returned the favor to them for supporting Qatar 4 years ago, when it won the 2019 Asian Championship title in the Emirates.
The Oman national team achieved two draws and a loss in the sixth group, which included the Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Kyrgyz teams, scoring only two goals and conceding 3 goals.
Summary of the match Oman and Kyrgyzstan (1-1) | By tying with Kyrgyzstan… Oman loses its chance and Indonesia qualifies#Asia Cup | #AsiaCup2023 | #Kyrgyzstan_Oman#asiancup2023 pic.twitter.com/oxcTZX2orN
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) January 25, 2024
The last ten minutes of the match, after the Kyrgyz equaliser, witnessed silence and extreme sadness for the Omani fans, which exploded and turned into a volcano of overwhelming anger after the end of the match, and the failure to win against a team that was founded only three decades ago and is participating in the tournament for the second time.
The expected dismissal of Croatian coach Branko after the exit did not alleviate the anger of the Omani fans, who criticized the way he selected the players, his preparation and leadership of the national team, and the defensive plans that caused the loss to Saudi Arabia, and the draws with Thailand and Kyrgyzstan.
“We are Samba Al Khaleej, so how can we not have a distinguished striker!”, a phrase made by Omani fan Musa Al Kindi in response to the coach’s statements that Oman does not have strikers, and his request to the media to help in getting good strikers.
Al-Kindi told Al-Jazeera Net that Oman can offer 3 full teams, not just a striker, but we do not have a professional philosophy, and qualified competencies are not used, who have had professional experiences in European and Asian countries, and have experiences and ideas for developing Omani football.
He adds that the players in the Oman squad have the potential to provide the best, and they even have the ability to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, but they need professional technical management to deal with them, qualify them and employ them in a good manner.
A draw with Kyrgyzstan is unreasonable, and the shameful exit from the first round in the Asian Championship is borne by the Omani Federation, and then by the Croatian coach, who has no coaching thought, according to Al Kindi.
“The coach is what defeated Oman.”
Omani fan Muhannad Al-Athqa agreed with Al-Kindi’s opinion, as he stressed that “the coach was what defeated Oman,” and caused its exit from the continental championship in a group that was within reach.
Al-Athqa told Al-Jazeera Net that Oman, throughout its football history, presented distinguished strikers who shone continentally, so how could Branko not find a good striker? This matter is illogical and impossible, and the coach is unable to choose a good squad.
He added that the coach's mistakes in the three matches were clear, as he was unable to employ the players well on the field, nor did he choose the appropriate squad to represent Oman, and he had many options.
“The dark horse is sick” is a sarcastic phrase made by Omani fan Faisal Al-Musalmi in response to statements by the President of the Omani Football Association, Salem Al-Wahaibi, that Oman will be the dark horse in the Asian Championship.
He added that he was not satisfied with the team’s performance, and the players did not offer anything to redeem them. We hope that this tournament will be the beginning of correcting the mistakes of the system’s management and returning Omani football to the right path.
Al Hail Beach
As for the fan, Ahmed Al-Hatemi, he sarcastically asked those who did not find a distinguished striker to lead Oman, to go to Al-Hail Beach, where young people play football on the sea, as they will get talents and distinguished strikers who just need to be trained to become great players.
Al-Hatemi says that the Encourage Your Team League includes distinguished strikers and players, and there are many of them in the alleys and alleys, but there is no expert eye or those capable of discovering talent.
He believes that one of the main reasons for the team's early exit from the tournament is the team's management, which must be changed immediately, in addition to the team's lineup and the failure to employ players correctly, as well as not calling up some professional names in the Jordanian and Thai leagues.
Oman has been suffering from offensive sterility for 8 years. This is unnatural, especially since the national team has produced many distinguished strikers throughout its history, which confirms the failure of the management and coach to choose an ideal lineup for the national team, according to Al-Hatemi.
As for Ahmed Al-Kazerouni, he spoke about the level of his country’s national team, and said that Oman’s exit from the Asian Championship was not a shock to the fans, and he stressed that Omani football had declined due to the lack of a strong professional league that produces high-level players.
Al-Kazerouni told Al-Jazeera Net that coach Branko did not provide anything, as the team on the field did not have a way of playing or plans to build the attack, and if he stayed playing for 3 days – as in the match against Thailand – he would not score a goal.
The Omani player is an amateur, and does not produce a strong league, and the weakness of the local league is one of the reasons for the weakness of the national team. It is unreasonable for the Omani league to be rated lower than the Bangladeshi league in the latest classification of leagues in the world, according to Al-Kazerouni.
Despite the public anger after the match, the stands during the match witnessed a touch of loyalty and return of kindness from the Qatari fans to Oman, after the Qatar Fans Association gathered in the stands and raised a piece of paper with the words “Peace be upon you, O people of Oman. Your positions will not be forgotten over time.”
Omar Abdullah Al-Yazidi, President of the Qatari Fans Association, explained to Al Jazeera Net that the presence of the Association to support Oman is to return the favor to the Omani fans who did not fall short with Qatar in previous tournaments, especially in the 2019 Asian Championship.
He adds that the association supports all Gulf teams in the tournament, and that all Gulf teams are the same, as we hope that the Asian title will be Qatari or Gulf.