- Orpic B wins 6:5 over IMCO after penalty shoot out
- More than 60 matches played over three weeks with 32 company teams participating
- Annual SOHAR Cup celebrates teamwork and health during the Holy Month
Orpic B fought their way to glory last night at Al Arabi field in Suhar, to be crowned 2017 champions of the annual SOHAR Cup football tournament. Now in its tenth year, the tournament has grown from small beginnings to become one of the key fixtures in the North Al Batinah region's sporting calendar. After an exciting match, the B team from the national petrochemical and refining giants Orpic, defeated International Maritime College Oman, the Port's vocational training academy, by a six goals to five in a tense penalty shoot out.
Both Orpic and IMCO have had to face stiff competition over the past three weeks to reach the final, beating favourites Hutchison Ports SOHAR, the container terminal's A team, who won last year's competition. With over 60 matches taking place every evening over three weeks, and with 32 teams representing tenants, contractors and subcontractors taking part, the tournament is as much a test of the teams' stamina and endurance as it is of their football skills.
A grand total of over 400 players, referees, coaches and administrators actively participated in this year's event. The annual tournament, which started in 2007 in the very early days of SOHAR Port, was initiated to celebrate teamwork and health during the Holy Month of Ramadan. This year, the winners' trophies and runner-up prizes were presented by His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Said bin Humaid bin Abdullah Al Harthy, the Wali of Liwa.
After the official Cup presentation, Awards were also handed over to a number of other exceptional players in the tournament, including the Best Outfield Player Award, the Best Goalkeeper Award and the Top Scorer Award. The Port's CEO, Mark Geilenkirchen, was full of praise for all the players and the tournament's organisers: “They call football the beautiful game and tonight you can really see why…the level of skill, perseverance, teamwork, dedication and sheer hard work we've witnessed here this evening is phenomenal. If there's anyone out there who still wonders why SOHAR is one of the world's fastest growing Port and Freezone developments, I invite them to witness some of our football matches — by day, it's the same teams of people making it all happen.” SOHAR has seen double-digit growth for the past twelve years and now handles in excess of 2,600 ships a year and averages a million tonnes of sea cargo each week.
Suwaid Al Shamaisi, SOHAR Port and Freezone's Executive Manager of Corporate Affairs, whose department organises the SOHAR Cup, summed up when he said: “Our sincere praise goes to all the players, participants and administrators who make the tournament such a resounding success each year. It is a great opportunity for staff in all our Port and Freezone industries to meet, to communicate with each other and directly with our surrounding communities. I would also like to offer my special thanks to the administration of Al Arabi football club, headed by Mr. Hilal Al Kiyumi, for all their invaluable support.”