Busy Al Habsi ready for a break

Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi
Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi
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ALI Al Habsi is looking forward to finally putting his feet up for what’s left of his summer after completing a “long season”.

The Wigan goalkeeper helped Oman to a 1-1 draw with Iraq that leaves them with plenty of work to do to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

But of more immediate concern will be getting in some vital rest and recuperation before the start of pre-season training in just three weeks’ time.

“Today was my last game of this long season,” Al Habsi tweeted last night.

“Will now be enjoying a couple of weeks with my family and friends.”

Al Habsi hasn’t missed a competitive game for club or country this term, a quite remarkable feat considering the physical and mental demands placed on him at domestic and international level.

After more than doing his bit to help Latics retain their Premier League status, Al Habsi immediately jetted out to Asia to try to keep alive his country’s World Cup dream.

The Red Warriors got off to a bad start at the third group stage, losing 3-0 to Japan in Tokyo, but steadied the ship somewhat with a 0-0 draw against Australia at the weekend.

Last night, they went ahead early against Iraq, but had to settle for a point that keeps them in contention – but with plenty of work to do when the qualifying programme resumes next season.

“There are still five more games left to play, and three of them home,” Al Habsi added. “Nothing we can predict at this stage.”

Earlier in the day, Australia were held 1-1 by Japan, who stand top of the group with seven points from three matches.

The Socceroos have two points from their two games as do Iraq, Oman with the same number of points but having played a game more.

Jordan bring up the rear with one point from two games, and they face Oman next on October 16.

Maynor Figueroa and Honduras were also in action overnight against Canada, desperately needing points to move them off the bottom of their qualifying group.

Victor Moses’ Nigeria, meanwhile, are top of their World Cup group after picking up four points from their first two matches.

Momo Diame is being tipped to join West Ham as the race for his signature intensifies.

The midfielder, whose Latics contract expires this summer, had been linked with Manchester United and Liverpool, but is reportedly entering a second round of talks with the Hammers over a Bosman free transfer.