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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 08/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman coach Paul Le Guen believes that a win against Jordan in next week's final round Asian qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup could work as a catalyst in the country's pursuit of a maiden berth in football's biggest tournament.Oman hosts Jordan at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on October 16. The Group B game will begin at 5pm. Le Guen told Muscat Daily in an interview on Saturday, A win will be the key to our chances ahead. While Japan looks all set to qualify from our group, it's an open game for the other four teams. A win against Jordan will give us momentum. It could make things really different. Our hopes of qualifying will be more than ever.Japan leads Group B with ten points and Jordan is second, with four points. Oman, Australia and Iraq have two points each.Jordan amazing'The Frenchman said Jordan's 2-1 shock win over Australia a month ago was 'amazing'. The result was a surprise, but after watching that match, I wasn't surprised. Jordan dominated and the way they exerted pressure, it appeared Australia just didn't exist in the match, he said.Le Guen said, We respect Jordan. Although our players have achieved good results against Australia (0-0 in Muscat) and Iraq (1-1 in Doha), we have to be humble [in our approach against Jordan]. Our last camp, before the friendly against Yemen in September, was very important. Those eight days have done the players a lot of good. I am happy with our build-up programme for the Jordan match, I am confident of a positive result.England trip helpedThe Oman coach also said that he wants his players to focus hard in the ten days ahead of the showdown against Jordan.The coach feels the national team's England trip last August helped the players a lot. There was a lot of hard work done during that camp, he said.Although we lost friendlies against Fulham and Ireland, there were a lot of positives to take from those two games. Sometimes, it's important to put fingers on the drawbacks. After the good display against Australia and Iraq, I wanted the players to face a reality-check and not be overconfident. The two defeats were a good lesson.Injury woesOman, which will miss the services of midfielders Hussain al Hadhri and Ahmed Hadeed due to injury, suffered another blow on Thursday when Dhofar club striker Hamood al Saadi injured his shoulder during an Omantel Elite League game against Al Nasr. Abdullah Saleh of Al Arouba has been called up for the camp. Also missing the October 16 clash will be central defender Abdulsalam Juma after he picked up two yellow cards during the previous qualifiers.Le Guen admitted that the absence of Hadeed, Hadhri and Abdulsalam has affected his plans. It's not easy to replace Hadeed and Hadhri, who are experienced and are good at free-kicks, he said.I still have a few choices for the midfield, like Ahmed Mubarak Kanu', Eid al Farsi, Raid Ibrahim, Ali al Jabri and Mohammed al Mashari.The coach said Oman's problems with its defence were aggravated after Abdulsalam was ruled out. Our central defence played an important role in the matches against Australia and Iraq. Though I have choices, I prefer stability in the defence. Defender Mohammed al Mussallami has been in good form. I am also happy with Jaber al Owaisi and Abdullah al Qasabi.He hinted that veteran attacking midfielder Fauzi Basheer may not play the full match since there are doubts over his fitness. Fauzi was without a club till yesterday. The good news is that he has signed with a club (Al Dhafra in the UAE), but I need to check his fitness, Le Guen said. He may play only a part role in the Jordan match.Big turnout neededThe Frenchman also urged Oman's fans to turn up in large numbers to support their team during the Jordan match.We need them. The players can do much better if there's a good atmosphere in the stadium, he said.The fans were backing us during our victories against Thailand and Australia. They are a part of our success story. I hope it's a packed house on October 16.Le Guen added, Today, we are among the top ten sides in Asia. Together with our fans' support, we need to dream bigger. We have improved over the past few months. Though we are outsiders, I believe in this team. We are in the right direction to realise our dream.


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