Football team returns home with one point, fans satisfied [Archives:2007/1021/Local News]

February 1 2007

Adel Al-Khawlani
SANA'A, Jan, 29 )Yemen's national football team returned to Sana'a with a single point from their three matches in the Arabian Gulf Cup tournament in Abu Dhabi.

Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports and Head of Yemen's delegation to UAE Abdullah Behayan said he is satisfied with performance of the Yemeni footballers when they played Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Oman. He expressed that teammates played together better than any previous Gulf championships and proved that they joined the event as competitors and not as participants.

Behayan praised the sincere efforts expended by Yemeni Football Federation and the team's coaching staff, which helped make Yemen's participation in the championship a success. Also, he commended the sponsorship and support for the team by President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Minister of Youth and Sport that motivated players and raised morale.

The team's coach Mohsen Saleh stated that Yemen's participation in the Gulf Championship was somewhat positive as the players were at their best. He confirmed that the team will not be easy points for other teams in coming sporting events.

In the final Group B meeting, Yemen was surprisingly defeated 2-1 by Oman with a formation made up of reserve players. Sultan Al-Turki scored another first minute goal of the tournament for Oman. Yemen equalized later in the ninth minute with a nice header. Ahmad Al-Busafi gave Oman a 2-1 lead in the 43rd minute and that score stood until the end of the contest.

In a press conference following the game, the Mohsen Saleh affirmed that Yemen's performance in the meeting was not a product of a chance, rather it is a fruit of extensive preparation and gradual improvement. He regretted his team's sad exit from the competition because it had a considerable chance to qualify for the semifinals.

“Our players committed several mistakes particularly in the defense lines and this is coupled with their immature experience that couldn't help to maintain the 1-1 draw at least. However, the team was expected to win the encounter since the Omani coach fielded most of his reserve players,” Saleh noted.

Football team prepares for China Olympics' qualifiers: Under the Egyptian Coach Mohsen Saleh, the national football on Sunday started preparing for the qualifying matches for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Saleh told Saba News that the Olympic team's formation will include most of the national team players who have just participated in the Arabian Gulf Cup.

According to the team's coach, Yemen's footballers gratified their fans although they reaped only one point from three games.

“The current national team formation includes younger players under age 23 and the formation is possible to remain the same in the upcoming international home and away games against Palestine in February,” said Saleh.

The national team is due to play a practice match with its Syrian counterpart on Feb. 3 in Damascus in conformity with the football federation agenda. Saleh said he forwarded his program to federation concerning preparation for the national and Olympic football teams for the upcoming international participations.