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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 11/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The national team will rely on its experienced players as it gears up for the much-awaited Hockey World League, the new tournament started by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) that will begin later this month.Oman will compete with five other nations from the region in Round 1 (the regional stage) of the tournament that will be held in Doha, Qatar, from November 27-December 2.The national team, coached by Sabil al Balushi, will be led by its experienced 39 year old goal keeper Abduljabbar al Balushi after the Oman Hockey Association (OHA) kept its faith in the duo, who helped the side qualify for the Asia Cup 2013.However, the coach and captain are not too happy with the build-up to the competition as the team hasn't had a preparatory camp so far. The only practice that Oman will get is the 2012 His Majesty's Cup semifinals and final, to be played from November 12-25.Speaking to Muscat Daily after the OHA named the 18-member squad, comprising  mostly experienced players, Sabil said, ''It would have been good if the team had gone through a camp before the  tournament."But it couldn't be arranged due to a packed domestic schedule. The good thing is, most of the selected players will take part in the HM's Cup semis and final before we depart for Doha on November 26.''Sabil said he has requested the coaches of the local clubs to focus on the national team players' as they prepare for the HM's Cup matches.Skipper Abduljabbar said, ''The players will have to display good team spirit in Doha. We will try to make the most of the limited practice we will get there before our first match on November 27. A lot will depend on the senior players.''Oman has been clubbed in Group A with Uzbekistan and Turkey while Group B comprises Round 1 hosts Qatar, Sri Lanka and Azerbaijan.The UAE, which was initially pooled in Group B pulled out of the event recently. The withdrawal of the UAE could change the format for the Doha tournament into a six-team round-robin affair.Omani delegation: Salim al Qartoubi (head of delegation), Badar al Jaradi (manager), Sabil al Balushi (coach), Ahmed al Darmaki (assistant coach), Talib al Hosni (physio), Ibrahim al Nofli (umpire), Abdullah al Harrasi (judge), Ahmed Salim (judge).Squad: Abduljabbar al Balushi (captain, goalkeeper), Fahad al Nofli (keeper),  Aiman al Kathiri, Salah al Saadi, Shahab Nahadh, Khalid al Shaaibi, Ahmed al Balushi, Marwan Abdulrahman, Yunis al Nofli, Mohamed al Shar, Shakir al Laun, Sami al Laun, Ikram Ramadhan, Abdullah al Alawi, Ali al Zadjali, Nawaf al Hasani, Wail Sanjor and Mahmood al Hassani._________________________________What is the World League?The FIH's new tournament, the Hockey World League, comprises four rounds that will span a two-year cycle. For one cycle, the World League will serve as a qualifying meet for the World Cup. The next two-year cycle will be a platform for the Olympics.In Round 1, teams ranked 17th in the world and below will participate. From Round 1, 16 teams will qualify for Round 2, in which they will be joined by teams ranked nine to 16th.From Round 2, eight teams will proceed to the Round 3, in which they will be joined by the top eight teams in the world.The semifinals will feature two separate tournaments of eight teams each. The top four teams from each tournament will progress to the finals, which will then be an eight-team affair.The finals will also feature two pools of four teams each with classification matches.


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