Oman slips down in Fifa ranking


Oman National team who finished the Gulf Cup with just one point in their group have slipped 13 points down in Fifa Rankings. – Jun Estrada/TIMES OF OMAN

Muscat: Oman football team has slipped down in the Fifa ranking due to their mixed performance last year. According to the latest rankings released by Fifa yesterday, Oman has slipped to13 points below from 95 to 108.

Though Oman's disastrous Gulf Cup performance has not affected the ranking, their "mixed performance" in other matches such as the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and international friendlies could be the impact of the downslide.

Speaking to Times Sport, Oman Football Association (OFA), board member Ahmed Al Habsi said the Reds decline in the World ranking is an eye-opener for the board. "We are seriously monitoring that and it's a concern," admitted Ahmed. "We are studying at all levels about the problems and will see to it that our team performs at their best in the coming matches," he said.

Oman began their last round of 2014 World Cup qualifiers last year with a defeat in Tokyo against Japan and in Muscat, however, they came back to win and draw the remaining games to keep the hopes alive.

"I think our mixed performance could have affected the ranking. We lost to Japan in the home and away matches against them and to Thailand in the previous round. I think that could have been the reason," Ahmed pointed out. The ranking may change next month when Fifa announce the new list. "I feel we may go up again looking at the other games we played," he said.

With Fifa yet to recognise the Gulf Cup, Oman's jaded performance has not affected the ranking system. However, Ahmed said the board is "seriously studying" the team ahead of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers and the remaining World Cup qualifying games.

"It is quite unfortunate to be knocked-out of the tournament. Nobody could have expected that. But to be very frank, we cannot single-handedly blame anyone in particular for the loss. Our team is on the transformation mode. Many youngsters have come into the team in the last one year and it has certainly made an impact. It takes time for them to settle-down and during that context defeat does happen. It's quite natural but we will study everything during the meeting," he said. 

There is no movement whatsoever in the top ten, with Spain still holding a comfortable lead over Germany and Argentina.  

Workshop
OFA will host a joint meeting between the technical committee and the committee of national team and a workshop to discuss the Gulf Cup performance. Oman coach Paul Le Guen will explain the reason behind the team's woeful performance from his boys and the plans for
the future.

Oman finished bottom of Group A with just one point from their three matches in Bahrain.
They drew 0-0 against the hosts but then lost 2-1 to Qatar and 2-0 to UAE. "The workshop will have a detail view on the whole tournament. Everything will be discussed during the meeting," Ahmed added without revealing the details.

Several experts of the game are expected to attend the workshop at Grand Hyatt today.
Noted personalities such as Khalil Al Zayani from Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Hassan Abdullah from UAE and Dr. Alaa Sadek Mohammed from Egypt will attend the workshop. Soon after the meeting, a detailed report about the performance will be submitted to the board by the technical committee.

However, according to sources, the board is expected to back Le Guen as any harsh decisions could have negative impact on the national team ahead of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers that will be hosted by Oman next month.

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