MUSCAT (21 Dec, 2016): The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) felicitated Dawood al Raisi, the former Oman Hockey Association (OHA) chairman, on the sidelines of the HM’s Cup final on Monday.
Tayyab Ikram, the AHF’s chief executive, presented the AHF Medal of Merit to Raisi for his ‘outstanding contribution to hockey over the past four and half decades’.
“The Sultanate needs to invest in coaching. What the country lacks is the expertise of good qualified coaches at the moment,” said Dato’ Sri Tayyab , who is also an Executive Board member of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), on the sideline of the just concluded His Majesty Cup Hockey Championships in Muscat.
“The development should come at the grass roots level with good investment in the technical area, like coaching and umpiring. Good technical knowledge of the game is essential in modern hockey,” he added. “Oman has good talents across the country. It is only a matter of time this nation will make a giant leap in Asian rankings.”
Oman is ranked at world No 31 and the Dato’ Sri Tayyab is confident that OHA, under the leadership of Talib Khamis al Wahaibi, a man of discipline and determination, will bring significant progress in its development programmes with a target of achieving a top-nine ranking in Asia.
“I am extremely hopeful in the new board of Oman Hockey Association. The board members, led by Talib Khamis al Wahaibi, are enthusiastic hockey lovers. I am sure they will be able to make great contribution towards Oman hockey,” said Dato’ Sri Tayyab, who was among the dignitaries invited to witness the final of the His Majesty Cup Hockey Championship.
The Oman Hockey Association president was recently appointed as a member of the AHF Development Committee while another candidate from the Sultanate will also be nominated to join the committee in due time.
Al Wahaibi, observed: “I feel very honoured and happy with this appointment. It is surely a big boost to Oman hockey. We are determined to work for the growth of hockey in Oman.”
The Oman national senior team will compete in the World Hockey League Round 2 in Dhaka, Bangladesh from March 4-17, 2017, and is currently coached by Ahmed al Darmaiki who has replaced Oliver Kurtz of Germany.
“We are looking for an experienced coach. The coach will be from the Indian sub-continent,” the OHA chief said, adding that he is in consultation with AHF and FIH in finding a suitable candidate as national coach.
Dato’ Sri Tayyab also stressed that both AHF and FIH will work in tandem in providing assistance to Oman in the promotion and development of the game at home.
“The process is in the right direction. We will help OHA arrive at the right candidate for the key post. The role of coach is most important as far as Oman is considered. The national and junior teams need qualified and expert coaches who can bring in significant change in standard of the hockey in Oman,” he said.
On the request for the introduction of the Gulf Cup Championship, Dato Sri Tayyab said the idea is being actively considered by the AHF.
“We had started tournaments of five-a-side hockey in GCC level. Shortly, the full format will make its entry. The Youth Cup and indoor tournaments are also in running at the GCC level,” he said.
He also stressed that OHA will seek the services of former Indian hockey Olympian Varsha Soni to set up a women’s hockey team.
“I had met Varsha and she will pick some 15 to 20 female players from the Indian schools here. Similar number of girls will also be selected from various Omani schools, which I will be entrusted with the responsibility,” he said.”Our aim is to set up two strong women teams in Oman.”
In another development, the AHF also honoured Dawood al Raisi, the former Oman Hockey Association president, with the distinguished AHF Medal of Merit for his outstanding contribution towards the development of the game in the last four decades.
“This is only the second instance since the Medal of Merit has been instituted that it has been awarded. The first Medal of Merit was presented to Japan Hockey Federation chief Motohito Yoshido. We value Raisi’s contribution towards hockey. It is a deserving honour for him.”
Meanwhile, Muscat-based Seeb ended a 13-year long wait before clinching the His Majesty Cup Hockey Championship for a record 11th time following a 3-2 victory over Bausher at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
Mohammed al Lawati struck a brace (7th and 48th minutes) and Qasim Shibli (51st minute) scored the third goal for Seeb while Muhanna al Hasani (31st) and Mohammed Tousiq (65th) replied for Bausher. For the record, Seeb last won the His Majesty Cup in 2003 but saw defeats in the 2004 and 2015 finals.
The Minister of Higher Education, HE Dr Rawya al Busaidi, presented the awards. Also present were HH Sayyid Melek al Said of Seeb Club, HE Sheikh Saad al Saadi, the Minister of Sports Affairs, Khalid al Zubair, the Oman Olympic Committee chairman and Talib Khamis al Wahaibi, president of Oman Hockey Association.
Last year’s champions Ahli-Sidab finished third but its star player Rupinder Pal Singh from India received the top scorer’s award. Bausher’s Muhanna was named Player of the Tournament, while Ahli-Sidab’s Ghassan al Hasani was adjudged best goalkeeper.
Seeb’s head coach, Osama Hussain, was ecstatic after the triumph: “It is a great win. We deserve to be champions. Our players put up an excellent show in the final.”