Muscat: Oman schoolboys did their country proud when they edged past Lebanon 1-0 in the final of the Arab School Football Championship in Cairo on Sunday.
The all-important goal was scored by Suleiman Al Mahrouqi in the 52nd minute and the team then defended the lead well to claim their maiden Arab school football title.
Coached by Anwar Al Habsi, the boys could have increased the lead but wasted opportunities in front of the goal.
Dr. Reda Hegazy, Egypt’s Minister of Education and Technical Education, presented the winner’s trophy to the Oman captain.
Earlier, Oman upset hosts Egypt 1-0 in the semi-final with Hassan Al Qasmi finding the decisive goal.
Abdullah al Foori, head of Oman delegation, congratulated the players on the title win. He said: “We are very proud of our junior stars’ performance and they have made history by winning the Arab title for the first time.”
Al Foori thanked all the players’ parents who accompanied them to Cairo. “A special thanks to the parents for their cooperation and continuous support,” he added.
Earlier in the group stage, Oman finished second in Group B with four points to reach the semi-finals. Lebanon, with four points, topped the group on better goal difference.
Oman commenced their campaign in the tournament with a 2-1 win over Morocco and then drew 1-1 with Lebanon. In the semifinals on Friday, Oman stunned the hosts while Lebanon prevailed over Libya 4-3 in a penalty shootout after 1-1 draw at full time.
The title win provides a good boost to players as they next compete in the Under-15 West Asian Football Championship, which will be hosted in Salalah from December 11-20 under the umbrella of the WAFF in coordination with the Oman Football Association (OFA).
Oman, champions in 1998, will compete against Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon in Group A while defending champions Jordan were drawn with UAE, Saudi Arabia and Syria in Group B.