Oman-based Aussie footballer Ante Bakmaz believes Oman will be confident they can get a result from their World Cup qualifier against the Socceroos, but that they fear Australia's set-piece power.
Bakmaz, who hails from Sydney's west, is playing professionally in Oman with Al-Suwaiq Club after departing Europe.
The 29-year-old has experienced football in the country and feels that after defeating Japan recently, Al-Ahmar will be optimistic going into the clash against the green and gold.
"The feeling here is that Australia is really strong, it’s probably an opponent that’s too strong for Oman," Bakmaz told FTBL.
"But obviously they hope and they’re positive they can get a result. That’s their take. They’ve only beaten Australia once. They fear Australia from set pieces – that’s where they’re a bit a worried."
With towering defender Harry Souttar in the starting line-up, the Socceroos have been a threat from free-kicks and corners against Asian opposition.
Bakmaz's club side boast several Omani internationals, including Yaseen al-Sheyadi, Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Hajri, Muhsen Saleh Abdullah Ali Al-Ghassani, Abdulaziz Al-Muqbali and Ussain Al-Hadhri.
The Australian centre back says the Reds have put in solid preparation for this match against Australia.
"We’ve got three lads that play for Oman, including the striker who scored against Japan," he said.
"Oman, they’ve been in a camp for a while. They’ve been preparing for this match for quite some time and they’re taking it very seriously.
"And off the back of the result against Japan and off the back of losing to Saudi Arabia – even though they lost it was actually a really good performance – I think they’re going to be going into this game thinking they can get something off Australia as well.
"It might be a little advantage for them too playing in Doha, especially with all the European lads coming back.
"The Omani media and the supporters are maybe a little bit intimidated by the Socceroos, but the players and the coaching staff are not.
"I think they’re going to be really positive.The Socceroos won’t take Oman lightly, and these Middle Eastern sides can be resilient. But I’m hoping for a positive result for the Omanis as well, it’s important for football here.
"Middle Eastern football, especially in Australia, is a little overlooked. It can be better; it can be improved but it should probably get a little bit more respect."
Bakmaz's career has taken him from Australia to stints in Croatia, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Lebanon, Indonesia and Romania.
The defender has landed in Oman after an aborted spell with Comua Recea.
"I was in Romania, I was going really well," he said.
"But then everything went bad. It was a good season performance-wise but it’s just a shame I didn’t get what I was promised – salary, bonuses – so that was really disappointing.
"I went to play in Bosnia after Romania but I couldn’t get a work visa. So it was really difficult and then this Oman opportunity came through and I took it with both hands.
"[Omani football], it’s really hot here so the tempo is not as high as it could be. But I think it’s the same with most Middle Eastern countries – technically there’s some really good players.
"It was the same in Lebanon. Technically the players are unreal, they just are lacking tactically. The standard from what I’ve seen is pretty good, and most of our starting XI at my club have all been capped internationally."