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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 19/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) National football coach Paul Le Guen has admitted that he is concerned about the fitness of some of his teams players while Oman gears up for a series of regional tournaments over the coming months.Four days after losing to Asian champion Japan 1-2 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in their 2014 FIFA World Cup final leg qualifier, the Frenchman said, Theres a lot of talk going on - that our players lack concentration for full 90 minutes of a match. But for me, concentration is directly linked to the players fitness. I think quite a few of my players lack full fitness.The Oman coach said his players overall fitness level wasnt 100 per cent when they faced a much higher-ranked and fancied Japan, and it eventually turned out to be one of the major hurdles for Oman.Le Guen said, One of the players failed to play a full game with his club team since our win against Jordan in October, while another player decided to go on a holiday after the Jordan win. I cannot interfere in a decision taken by a club coach, but I faced such situations ahead of the Japan match.He added, I still think we were unlucky against Japan. I am proud of my players, but I need to make them aware that match-fitness is an important element in todays game.No full-strength squad for WAFF event:The Oman coach said that he will not send a full-strength squad for the forthcoming seventh edition of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Championship, to be held in Kuwait from December 8-20.Its not possible to field the best team in every tournament with a hectic season ahead, he said. We have the Gulf Cup in Bahrain in January [5-18], to be followed by the Asian Cup qualifiers and the remaining qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. We have to prioritise and pick the best [team] for the bigger events. Its not a clever approach to send the best team for each and every tournament.Le Guen said that the team for the WAFF event will feature a mix of players from the senior national side and the Olympic squad.I have agreed to release ten players from the national team [for the WAFF Championship]. Among them are Ali al Jabri, Jaber al Owaisi, Azan al Balushi, Waleed al Saadi, Abdullah Saleh Abdulhadi and Qasim Said. They will be in action in Kuwait as I want them to gain experience. They are part of the 30-member squad, which would later be trimmed to 23, Le Guen said.A total of 11 countries are participating in the WAFF Championship in which Oman has been clubbed with Palestine, Kuwait and Lebanon in Group A.Le Guen said Omans full-strength side will strive to reclaim the Gulf Cup title. I know theres a lot of pressure to win the title, but we will try our best, he said. I hope we can bring the trophy back to Oman. Oman has been pooled in Group A with Bahrain, Qatar and UAE.Players need to live and behave like pros:Le Guen pointed out that the best way forward for the young players in Omans domestic league is to behave and live like professionals.The players need to train more and behave like professionals, he said. They have to develop a strict regimen and discipline. It will help raise the standard of the domestic league. Sometimes, I find good players in the domestic league, but my constant worry is whether those players can really adjust to the bigger stage. Here, its not a natural progression like other countries, where the leagues are professional.Meanwhile, Olympic team coach Philippe Burle said that his players will assemble on November 26 ahead of a scheduled friendly against Italy on November 29 at the ROP Stadium.


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