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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 07/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman's Olympic (U22) football team will host Italy this month in a friendly before travelling to Milan next month for the return leg match as part of the Oman Football Association's (OFA) recent deal with Lega Pro, the Italian body that runs third and fourth division football in the country.The Italians will take on the home side at the ROP Stadium in Wattayah on November 29 and the two teams will face off again in Milan on December 12. The OFA announced the Oman-Italy series on Tuesday as part of a long-term deal with Italy's secondary football governing. The deal marks Lega Pro's entry into the GCC region. Apart from occasional bilateral matches involving mainly age-group national teams, the agreement will feature knowledge- sharing programmes. In the coming months, the OFA hopes its match officials and budding players will get to benefit from initiatives involving refereeing, coaching and football academy development. The partnership could also help Oman benefit from Lega Pro's ongoing 'Football for Youth' programme, which focusses on scouting for and developing young talent. Over 2,000 professional footballers and more than 6,500 youth players are currently participating in the programme. Sayyid Khalid al Busaidy, the OFA chairman, said, ''To share practice [facilities] and develop close relations with Lega Pro is a positive move towards the development of Omani football. As we aim to make it to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, this cooperation gives us the scope to play friendly games against one of the world's leading football nations.'' Mario Macalli, the Lega Pro president, said, ''This is a very important step for Lega Pro as we establish our first partnership with a football association in the Middle East region.''

 






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