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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 10/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The 42nd edition of the His Majesty's Cup hockey tournament will get underway with Al Nasr taking on Sohar in a Group B match at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Wednesday.Salalah-based Al Nasr has won the title four times with the last achievement coming in 2010. Sohar, meanwhile, has never won the trophy.In the day's other Group B game, Bausher takes on Dhofar. Muscat, which won the championship in 2004, is the fifth team in that group.Al Nasr's Egyptian coach Mohammed Batrani told Muscat Daily, We are ready for the competition. We have many young players in the side who have been in Muscat for some time now, playing in the youth league. They are all match fit.Batrani said, Shakir Munir (Pakistani keeper) is our most important player. He was with us in all four of our championship victories and has played an important role on all those occasions. With Mohammed Zubair (Pakistani forward) and Kashif Ali (Pakistani defender) joining him, we form a strong side.Sohar is coached by Hamood al Wahaibi, former Oman international and a former national team's assistant coach. We are not the favourites, but we are a capable side that can cause an upset or two in the tournament. We will try our best and take things one match at a time, Wahaibi said.In Group A action scheduled for Thursday, defending champion Ahli-Sidab plays Salam and former winner Seeb faces Oman.Ahli-Sidab is coached by former Oman coach K K Poonacha, who is assisted by Khalid Khalfan. I think we can defend this title, Khalfan said. We have a very good coach with us, guiding a talented side. We have a strong chance of winning the trophy this year as well.The group stage, to be played on a round-robin format, will conclude on October 21.The two top teams from each group will make it to the semifinal stage, which will be played on home and away basis on November 11-12 and November 14-15. The final match will be played either on November 20 or 25.The winner of the HM's Cup will pocket RO45,000 while the runner-up gets RO28,500. The third-placed team will bag RO17,500.


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