Preparations in full swing, says OFA chairman


Oman Football Association chairman Sayyid Khalid Al Busaidi addressing the media at the Seeb Stadium as other OFA officials look on. Photo – Ismail Al Farsi/ Times of Oman

Muscat: The preparations for the AFC Under-22 Championship that will be hosted by Oman next month is going on in full swing.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Sayyid Khalid Al Busaidi, chairman of Oman Football Association (OFA) said  his team is working hard to make the tournament a grand success.

"This is a great championship that the country will be hosting and for us this is going to be a challenging task but our team is working hard to ensure the success of the tournament," said Sayyid Khalid during an interaction with the media at the OFA headquarters in Seeb.

Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa, president of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will be the guest for the final. 64 other top AFC officials will be in Muscat for the tournament.

"That shows the importance of the tournament. A number of football federation heads will also be coming for the event," he informed. The championship which will have 16 teams including host Oman will be held from January 11 to 26 at three venues in the country.

The matches will be held at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bausher, Royal Oman Police (ROP) Stadium in Wattayah and Seeb Sports Complex.

Apart from the six other venues that include SQSC, Muscat Club, Ahli-Sidab Club, Bausher Club and two grounds at Sultan Qaboos University will be used as training centres for the participating teams.

"These training centres were approved by AFC and the players from various teams will have their training sessions at these centres," said Ahmed Al Habsi, director of the AFC Under-22 Championship.

Tickets soon
The ticket rates are priced at OMR 1 for general audience while the VIP tickets are priced at OMR 5.

"This is the standard rates that we have been following for our matches and we decided to have same prices for this tournament as well. The tickets will be available at all outlets soon," Al Habsi said.
All the teams will arrive two days before the tournament, however, North Korea and China will arrive early. "This will help our national team to prepare for the tournament. They will play few friendly games with us," Ahmed said.

All the players will be residing at Hotel City Seasons, Platinum Hotel and Golden Tulip.

Sayyid Khalid said OFA is in talks with Ministry of Tourism to attract fans from outside the country.

"We expect many fans to come for the tournament from abroad but that will mostly happen only during the second round. We hope this will turn out to be a great tournament. We hope the fans will come in large number and support us," Sayyid Khalid added. The media briefing was also attended by Sheikh Hazza Al Saadi, CEO and General Secretary of OFA and Mohammed Al Busaidi, director of external media at Ministry of Information and head of media committee for the championship.

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