Sunday, January 18, 2009


Oh there is so much I could be talking about today, but the most important is that Oman beat Saudi Arabia in the finals of the 19th Gulf Cup (Football). Those that know me, realise I have little interest in football, but living in a country that genuinely loves the game, you can’t help but get swept up in some of the euphoria.
We had been around to friends to watch the semi final last week, Becky was hoping to inspire Jacob a little by watching sport on TV, unfortunately neither Jacob or his friend Hamish showed the slightest interest and it was left to the adults to watch, shout and discuss tactics as if they were life long experts.
Lo and Behold Oman beat Bahrain 1:0 with a single goal in the ninth minute and whilst looking somewhat tired in the second half, managed to hold on to the end. That night, everyone was out celebrating in the streets to the sounds of car horns and cheers from happy Omani supporters.
As I mentioned football is taken seriously here with a national hero being Ali Al Habsi the goalkeeper who plays in the English Premiership for Bolton Wanderers.
Supporters dress up their cars in all manner of ways from custom graphic, to paint or electrical tape, with a plethora of flags adorned from any possible location.

Speaking with a friend who came back from a recent trip to Dubai, even the Royal Omani Police got into the spirit of things by ordering the removal of any such adornments from the Emirates cars crossing into Oman, no love lost there!

So last night we hosted the final at our house with chicken salad, baked potatos and plenty of refreshments, Oman Vs the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) kicked off at six in the evening. Tickets to all of the tournament matches were free, but it meant queuing from midday to get a seat.
The game was tense, with Oman seeming to have the upper hand. Chances were missed by both sides and Al Habsi certainly earned his hero status throughout both halves and extra time.
So it was left to a penalty shoot out, both nations held their breath as each player took his mark and shot at goal. One, Two, Three, Four, surely someone would miss? Five penalties apiece!!!
And then to sudden death…………….The KSA player took his mark, aimed, kicked and…………..missed, didn’t even get close! It was left to Oman defender Mohammed Al-Noobi to step up and fire his side to victory for the very first time in a Gulf Cup tornament!

Celebrations went on into the early hours of the morning, and the following day was announced as a National Holiday.

Congratulation Oman, you deserve it.

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