Oman football team return home to rousing welcome


Oman footballers who qualified for the Asian Cup finals to be held in Australia next year were accorded a warm welcome at the Muscat International Airport and paraded on an open bus with much fanfare. – Times of Oman/Jun Estrada

Muscat: The Oman national team, who returned home after a 1-0 victory over Syria to secure a berth in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup finals to be held in Australia, were given a red-carpet welcome at the VIP terminal of Muscat International Airport yesterday.

The team was later taken in an open bus tour from Seeb to Bait Al Barkah. 

Frenchman Paul Le Guen-coached Omanis received a thunderous welcome at the Seeb Stadium from the thousands of fans who waited patiently for hours to greet their heroes.

In a crucial qualifier played in Tehran on Monday, star player Eid Al Farsi scored a minute into injury time to secure the win for Oman and ensure the Omanis cannot be denied a place amongst the top two positions in Group A.

Speaking to Times Sport, Sayyid Khalid Al Busaidi, chairman of Oman Football Association (OFA) said the qualification to the Asian Cup came at the right time when the Sultanate is celebrating its 43rd National Day.  A delighted OFA chief dedicated the win to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

"This is certainly a special victory for us. This has come at a time when our country is celebrating the National Day. We dedicate this victory and the qualification to the Asian Cup to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said," he said.

The win moves Oman to 10 points from five games, five points ahead of second-placed Jordan who have played only three games due to their involvement in Fifa World Cup play-offs and six ahead of the third-placed Syrians.

Oman will now take their place in next year's draw for the finals and will appear at their third AFC Asian Cup finals in four events, having missed out on securing a place in Qatar in 2011.

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