Wigan’s Al Habsi takes captains armband for Oman

Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has been handed the Oman captaincy for Tuesday’s clash with Australia in Sydney.

The 29-year old, who joined the Latics permanently from Bolton in the off-season, has been named captain by Oman coach Paul Le Guen in a bid to add some backbone to the team’s poor World Cup qualifying start.

Al Habsi admits it is a nice honour to skipper his nation and is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the 19th-ranked Socceroos on their home soil despite the added pressure the captaincy brings.

“Maybe it’s a little more pressure for me as I have to be the most experienced player tomorrow,” he said.

"I hope I’ll handle this. To be a leader for the national team is not easy. But I’m full of confidence.”

He added: “I think this game will be different to the last three games we’ve played against Australia. In 2007 we did a great game and were leading until the 93rd minute when (Tim) Cahill scored.

“And we played them in Asian Cup qualifiers in Melbourne and Muscat in 2009.

“Now we have many different players especially from the Olympic team. But it’s not enough experience. Before we were a stronger team; stronger than now and fitter.

“But we are a young team, coming from Olympic to the senior team I hope the players will be 100 percent concentrated.

"Because when you play with a team like Australia you have to concentrate for 95 minutes.”

 

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