Al Habsi: I still have ten years to go
Muscat: There is no other footballer in the country who can match the popularity of Ali Al Habsi.
The English Premier League player has come a long way and interestingly there are no other goalkeepers in the country who can fit into his shoes at least for the next ten years.
Speaking to Times Sport yesterday, Al Habsi while admitting that there is a scarcity in goalkeepers in the country informed that he will help Oman football in preparing a young pool of goalkeepers for the country.
"I still have another ten years to go," Al Habsi said when asked if there are any goalkeepers who can replace him in the near future. Although there are a dozen reserve goalkeepers within the national team nobody has reached the height to replace Al Habsi.
"I think it's about time when we will have some brilliant ones in our team," he said.
"You know when I started playing I too heard the same questions being asked all the time. But we need patience and I am sure in years to come we will soon have some," he said.
When asked if he could pick any other footballer from Oman who can play in the English Premier League, the Wigan Athletic player had this to say: "We have talent but most of our players are still young. They have a long way to go. They need to prove their place in the team first before they look for Premier League.
"It's about hard work and dedication and I am sure we will have few more playing in the Premiere League teams," Habsi said on the sidelines of a Safety First campaign - an initiative launched by Motorsport legend Hamed Al Wahaibi at the Crown Plaza Hotel yesterday.
Speaking about his team's preparations for the 2014 World Cup last round qualification, Habsi said fitness is the key.
"We have back-to-back matches so it's important for the players to be fit. We are preparing hard for the matches. This is a chance we got after our hard work and we do not want to let it go like that,' he said.
Oman will play their first match against Japan on June 3 and five days later they play Australia in Muscat. "Japan and Australia are very strong but we are confident of beating them. We have started our training already and coach Paul Le Guen is working hard with his technical staff. I am sure we can deliver this time," he added.