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Oman calls on Canberra to support side at Asian Cup

Oman hopes basing itself at the Australian Institute of Sport will see its success rub off on the players, and wants Canberra to adopt the side as its Asian Cup team.

South Korea and Qatar are also in discussions to be based at the national training centre, with a final decision later in the year.

Officials from Oman, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Japan toured Canberra Stadium on Tuesday as part of a visit around Australia to inspect facilities. 

The first three play group games in the ACT, and Japan could play a quarter-final here.

Oman board member Said Baqaweer said the players and staff would initially base themselves at the AIS, arriving in Canberra on December 28, before potentially playing warm-up games against a local side and China.

Oman opens its Asian Cup campaign against South Korea at Canberra Stadium on January 10.


The team's technical director, Jim Selby, is from Canberra.

Baqaweer hoped to play in front of a packed Canberra Stadium and called on the capital to get behind the country the Socceroos knocked out of this year's World Cup at the qualifying stages.

"We are excited about having our pre-cup camp here in Canberra with the AIS and we'll be here for New Year," he said.

"A lot of good sport people came out of this institute, so hopefully we will benefit from our camp.

"[Against a] local [team we'll play] maybe one game and we're planning to play maybe China in a friendly game or there's a lot of teams that will be camped here for the tournament in Australia and we'll try and see where we can meet." 

South Korea team manager Ilki Park said the side would look at all the facilities before making a decision on where it would be based.

He described Canberra Stadium as beautiful, not too big and a very good place to play soccer.

Park said there was a large Korean community in the ACT and he hoped to get good support from it and the locals for both the team's games here.

"Canberra is one of the candidates for the pre-competition camp, we haven't decided yet," Park said.

"After the inspection of the stadium we'll go and look at the facilities and the training grounds and everything.

"Once we go back [to South Korea], we'll have a discussion with the technical staff and we'll decide later."

There have been concerns over slow ticket sales for the event, but a spokesman said they were tracking better than expected.

"Tickets sales at the Asian Cup are going very, very well indeed. We're certainly on track with the number of tickets we budgeted," the spokesman said.

"There's a long way to go, but we're very happy with how it's panning out so far."


January 10: South Korea v Oman, 4pm

January 11: UAE v Qatar, 6pm

January 13: Kuwait v South Korea, 6pm

January 15: Bahrain v UAE, 6pm

January 18: China v North Korea, 8pm

January 20: Iraq v Palestine, 8pm

January 23: Quarter final, winners Group C v runner-up Group D, 5.30pm 

Tickets available at