AFC Asian Cup 2019 – Players to Watch: Omar Al-Soma

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

In Part 3 of FOX Sports Asia’s “Players to Watch” series for AFC Asian Cup 2019, we look closely at Omar Al-Soma, the powerful striker looking to fire Syria to glory.

A huge factor behind Syria’s remarkable rise in Asian football recently has been the lethal two-pronged attack of Omar Kharbin and Omar Al-Soma.

But, while Kharbin gained the plaudits in 2017 as he won the AFC’s Player of the Year award, it was Al-Soma who got them excruciatingly close to qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a dominant display over 180 minutes in what was ultimately a 3-2 loss to Australia.

At 29, Al-Soma is a striker at the peak of his powers and was the top scorer in the Saudi Professional League with Al Ahli in three consecutive seasons from 2014 to 2017, netting a staggering 73 goals across that period.

It can be easy to just assume that the towering Syrian – standing at 1.92 metres – is purely reliant on his aerial ability, but he is equally capable with the ball at his feet and also shows excellent intelligence in linking up with his fellow attackers.

Although the Syrians have never made it to the knockout round of Asia’s premier international tournament, they look to have an excellent chance of doing that at AFC Asian Cup 2019.

And, adding more spice to what already promises to be an enthralling competition, Syria – and Al-Soma – will get a chance to exact revenge on Australia with both sides set to meet in the final round of Group B fixtures on January 15.