Tuesday 17 November 2009

Oman: Oman v Brazil

The pre-match events of Saturday’s England v Brazil friendly apparently befitted an Olympic opening ceremony. The pre-match events at the Sultan Qaboos stadium for this evening’s friendly against Oman befitted a community centre jumble sale. Quite surprising given that the Gulf Times claimed it was the most expensive sports event ever held in Oman.

Animals in a field gather excitedly around a food trough at feeding time. The same strategy was used by the organisers of this event to channel the increasingly unhappy spectators into the gates which were opened just before kick-off. We took our seats and looked to the scoreboard for team information. Nothing. No programmes - not a sausage. In fact, there were no sausages either. The ‘biggest sporting event’ in Oman and nobody thought of making a bit of extra cash selling food, programmes, football paraphernalia, etc? Hmmm.

Brazil scored after four minutes. Apart from the inability of the Omani players to stay on their feet, the rest of the half was uneventful. Oman surprised everyone with an own goal in the second half. The rest was dismal. Watching the nifty overhead camera suspended on wires from the stadium lights was more interesting than some of the football. A television crew below our seats sat watching the game on a TV monitor with their backs to the pitch. We spotted pizza boxes, so there must have been food somewhere.

My mate Ian’s post-match report: ‘it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it was going to be’.

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