Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oman Air Rebranded

Just like many others, I was not impressed with Oman Air's new brand identity, I did not understand what it meant at first, and I genuinely thought that all of their teasers that ran on the newspapers for the past week or so were made by the new Al Ahli Bank.

Oman Air, or whoever did the branding for them, clearly misunderstood what the problem is, there was nothing wrong with khanjar concept or with the choice of colours, why didn't they work with they had and remastered them instead of doing something totally random. Do they really think that using gold and silver will make them 'look' luxurious? And why in heaven's name didn't they change that ugly font?!

The brand is of course not only about the logo, but it is the image of the company within the consumers mind which is created by the quality of the service, the PR, and everything the company does. Changing the logo is the first step in telling all the consumers that Oman Air is changing, that is no longer that cheap-ass-service-company with old and dirty airplanes. But did this logo tell me anything such as that? I don't really know, I can' relate to it, I don't understand it, and I think that it looks ugly. I was discussing this with a friend earlier today, and he said that he really thinks that this logo suits Oman Air, it is a horrible logo for a horrible company.

A great number of Omani companies and institutions do not understand the importance of having a brand and the impact color and typography could have on consumers perception of their service. While new Omani companies such as Omran, Nawras, Oman Oil, and Bank Muscat, seem to know how to make the most effective use of the power of branding, the same cannot be said about Oman Mobile, OmanTel or Bank Sohar, and surely not Oman Air.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Muscat University ?

I'm sure that some of you heard before about the project of Muscat University, probably two years back or so. Wasn't it just a union of some private colleges in Muscat like the Modern College of Science and Business, Muscat College and some other colleges? Since we heard of that union, did anybody hear of the project being canceled or the colleges not agreeing on the union? All I know that the last statement from the Ministry of Higher Education showed that the ministry was aiming for that project to be done and unify those private colleges together. Though, I have never heard that the project was canceled a long time ago, till today.

Apparently, the private colleges didn't come to an agreement. So the Ministry of Higher Education just canceled the project and took back the license of the university. And according to this article on Al-Shabiba newspaper, the Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry is willing to establish the Muscat University with a capital of 20 million Omani Rials. The project is still being studied and will most probably be announced during this year, 2008. The university will not have any of the private colleges in Muscat in it. It will be a new separated university with different majors (still not announced).

Surprisingly, the end of the article says that the Council of Higher Education has withdrawn the license of establishing Muscat University which was just a unity of some of the private colleges in Muscat, and the project was canceled because the colleges did not come to an agreement. That was surprising because we never got to know about that before. But it's not something strange anyways. A lot of things happening in the country are not reported hence we don't get to know about them...

Why did the colleges fail to come to an agreement after all this time? Did not His Majesty provide 17 million Omani Rials last July to support this project? Where did the 17 million Omani Rials go if the project is canceled? A lot of questions arose after reading that tiny bit information on Al-Shabiba newspaper which was mentioned in the very end of the article.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Identify the logos

Can you identify the following logos?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Free advertisements?

There are two things you need to perceive here, not only that they hinder those seeking a ride on the shores but also tourists with dogs. Frankly, no one pays attention as far as I can tell. You can spot a rover on the back; many other vehicles can be seen down the area too.

Now the interesting part is the advertisement that has been placed on the board itself. Well, click here to have a better view.

Who knows, we might have stop signs with ads too in the near future.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Grab it before it's gone

Whoever wants the dance that was performed for the kids in Muscat Festival, Grab it before it's gone.

RE: Muscat Festival's Embarrassing Show

Here's what Sheikh/Ahmed bin Hamad Al-Khalili, The Mufti of the Sultanate had to say about the dance everybody has been talking about during Muscat festival.

It starts from minute 2.50 if you're not bothered to hear it all.

Oman Tourism Hotline

An advert on the paper was made today to announce the Ministry of Tourism's new Tourism Call Centre which should answer all queries regarding tourism in Oman and will provide info on tourist attractions around the country. The Tourism Call Centre will have Arabic and English speaking staff should start operating on the 16th of Feb and can be reached on the free number 800 777 99. Lets all call them on the 16th and see well they do. :P

Sunday, February 10, 2008

HM's Royal Directives

MUSCAT — His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said has issued royal orders to make available basic food commodities all over the Sultanate urgently, reduce the price of one tonne of flour by RO25, give the recommendations of the ministerial committee in charge of handling property rents hike at the nearest possible time, raise the salaries of employees of the state administrative apparatus units and social security families with effect from this month. The statement issued by the Diwan of Royal Court yesterday reads as follows:

Having reviewed the study prepared by the ministerial committee set up to alleviate the impact of price hike, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said has ordered the following:

- Make available basic food commodities all over the Sultanate urgently. The respective departments should devise a sound mechanism to ensure that retail traders do not raise the prices of these commodities, enhance market monitoring and combat monopoly.

- Reduce the price of one tonne of flour by RO25.

- The ministerial committee in charge of devising a mechanism to solve the issue of property rents hike should give its recommendations at the nearest possible time.

- The consumer protection department shall report directly to the minister of commerce and industry.

- Increase the salaries of the state administrative apparatus units of the ministries, government departments, organizations, public authorities, public establishments and other juristic personalities with effect from this month as follows:

A. The salary of employees on financial Grades 8, 9, 10 and its equivalent to be raised by 7 per cent of the basic.

B. The salary of employees on financial Grade 11 and its equivalent to be raised by 8 per cent of the basic.

C. The salary of employees on financial Grade 12 and its equivalent to be raised by 12 per cent of the basic.

D. The salary of employees on financial Grade 13 and its equivalent to be raised by 21 per cent of the basic.

E. The salary of employees on financial Grade 14 and its equivalent to be raised by 43 per cent of the basic.

F. The rest of the employees of the state administrative apparatus units from the ministries, governmental units, military and security units, organizations, public organizations, public authorities and other juristic personalities by 5 per cent of the basic salary.

G. Raise the social security families salaries by 10 per cent.

His Majesty the Sultan also ordered the respective authorities to conduct the actuary studies to improve the financial allocations for employees retired from the governmental sector also.
Source: Times of Oman
Pic Source: ONA

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

10 Kittens and a Lion

We all were excited for this match. It was a Do or Die for sure even if it was the first match of the group stage. I admit I was very optimistic about this match, I thought the team would be fueled up and pumped up for this encounter. What more do they want? A stadium which has a capacity of 65,000 was filled up for them. Everyone there for them and a match to prove themselves again, yet all we get as a nation from these so-called professionals is a bad start to the road to Johannesburg.

From the start of the match Bahrain were attacking our open defense, running around in our side of the pitch as if they were on an empty parking lot. Our passing was sure very bad, no pass accuracy at all.

We might ask ourselves what went wrong in the team. The thing is we wouldn't know that. Don't blame the referee like the commentator did in the match. Every tackle got the commentator
blaming the referee for anything that happened.

Our midfield was shattered, Fawzi Basheer who had an attacking role on the midfield was held way back in the midfield line. There was absolutely no way the ball could reach the strikers from the midfield. Any player gets the ball and has absolutely no one to pass it to as all the rest are marked.

Our left side of the defense was like an open road. I remember one strike were the Bahraini striker easily got past in between 3 of our defenders. Good thing it wasn't a goal.

I was disappointed by the performance of all the players except one, that is Ali Al-Habsi for sure. He saved a few definite goals and the goal that was scored was not his fault but the defenders fault. Whenever a corner is played there should be two defenders between the goalkeeper, each defender marking the area of each goal post. But only the left of our goalkeeper was protected and the right side was not.

This is our first defeat in Oman since 4 years now. There was no sense of patriotism in our players today. Only Ali Al-Habsi showed that, the rest were being outplayed and seemed lost in the pitch. If only they had that sense of patriotism they would've done something about the outcome of the match today.

Speaking of Patriotism, if only you guys watched UAE's match against Kuwait today. I watched it right after Oman's match finished. That was football, that was team-work and in that match I found what I call patriotism. All the players in UAE and Kuwait (despite being 2-0 down) were giving it their all. Sadly we don't have that in our football players.

The funny thing was watching our players diving after every tackle they got from the Bahraini players. Also another funny thing is, during the 1st half and a part of the 2nd half the referee was surely on our side.

Bahrain played a good match, even though they were a bit dirty and tried to waste a lot of time. Macala sure knew how to handle the game and Bravo to him for that. He closed all the flanks, locked down Oman's midfield and marked our key players.

I just hope this loss has a good impact on our players rather than put them down. Yes this was our chance but there is no use crying over spilled milk right now. We have to focus on our coming matches and try our best to snatch every point we can get. This is not over yet, Bahrain have a bad record when it comes to home matches, so let's hope for the best.

Congratulations to Bahrain for this win, they sure deserved it.

The 10 kittens are the rest of the players, The lion is Ali Al-Habsi.

The Road to South Africa: Oman x Bahrain

Date: 6/2/2008
Venue: Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex - Bowshar, Muscat.
Time: 18:30 (Oman timing)
Match: Oman x Bahrain


I think by now our National team needs no introduction. It is now considered as one of the best in Asia. Our national team booked it's place in Asia's best since 2004 in the Asian Federations Cup which was held in China. Even though in that tournament we did not move further than the group stage due to referee favourism (what a coincidence? He was Bahraini). The road to success was continued in 2005 at Qatar when we were beaten only once in the group stage and topped the group. Then comes the Semi finals and we came with a wonderful come back against Bahrain and reached the finals against hosts Qatar. But it appears that the rule of thumb in the Gulf Cup is that the host has to win. Same scenario happened in Abu Dhabi last year. But let's not complain, that is football. Let me just add that in my opinion our squad was at it's peak in Doha back in 2005. That is my personal opinion and many will disagree. Then came the 2007 Asian Federations Cup last summer. We actually held Australia, a team that reached the last 16 stage in the world cup in Germany back in 2006 and was knocked out by world champions Italy who had a very hard time to knock them out (comes from a die-hard Azzurri fan). Somehow, we could not advance to the second stage of the Asian Federations Cup, how couldn't we snatch that? I still don't know. It was quite shocking.

Here is the chance, we have to snatch it as this generation of players may never repeat itself. This is our golden generation but now we are suffering a problem, the same problem the best football national team is suffering as well, Brazil. As you can see, I guess 90% of our players are professionals outside Oman, yes it is great for them and we are all happy for them but here comes the problem, the club they play for is what feeds them and their families, so to continue that they have to be careful and try their best not to get injured. They might even snub the national team for the club they play for and that has happened in Brazil. The thing is, when all our players still played for Oman they all played from their hearts, they were all patriots. Now I want to ask you, do you see this patriotism in them after they all moved to Qatar and Bahrain? The only patriots I see in the pitch are: Ali Al-Habsi, Hussein Mudhafar and Ahmed Hadid who I guess all are professionals in other countries. Let us just hope that patriotism is back today on the pitch against Bahrain, months later against Japan and Thailand.

We might feel quite insecure about the national team since many changes have been made in the spine of the team and the thinking mind of the team such as the coach. But let's hope for the best. The question is, does this new coach have something new to offer for our national team?


The Bahraini national team is one of the newcomers in Asian football. A team that was filled with surprises, they have preformed excellently in China's 2004 Asian Federations Cup and made it to the 4th position. even in Gulf Cup 17 and Gulf Cup 18 where they were knocked out by our national team on both occasions in the semi-finals. We all know that Bahrain was the closest Arabian team (after Saudi Arabia that is) to qualify to the World Cup 2006 in Germany as they reached the last stage of qualification but lost against Trinidad & Tobago.

Unlike us, Bahrain have more experience in the World Cup Qualifications as they have reached the final stage of qualifications. Let alone that they haven't changed anything in their team's spine, their coach hasn't been changed. I guess as Omani's we all know him, Milan Maccalla. Milan Maccalla has coached us for 5 years, he knows every single strength and weakness for sure. That would be an important factor.

The Coaches:

Julio Cesar Ribas, Uruguayan. This is his first match with the Omani national team (I'm not counting friendly matches). This is his first experience with national teams as he always coached club teams. This is his chance to shine. The coach sure is pumped up as he came to coach a national team like Oman. If he manages to take them to South Africa, then for sure oil-barons Saudi Arabia or sky-scrapers U.A.E will have their millions ready to lure this manage their football teams. Sure he is aware that his rival knows every weakness and strength of his team. So will he be able to lead the students (our footballers) to beat their professor(Maccalla)?

Milan Maccalla, comes from Czech Republic. Our coach for 5 years until he got the sack. Maccalla still did not achieve the Bahraini dream. He disappointed them in 2007 Asian Cup and is looking forward to lift that heavy load off his shoulders. Again I am repeating he knows every single strength and weakness of his opponents. He knows the stadium pretty well, he knows the players pretty well and knows the fans pretty well. So will the Professor beat his students this time?

I expect a pretty intense match, a match where Bahrain would be defending mostly and rely on counter-attacks while our national team attacking and hold the ball possession with their fast passing.

Our national team should find the way to the Bahraini goal quite easily if they continued striking and giving too much pressure to the Bahraini defense. I also expect our defense tomorrow to be solid.

However, we will be suffering a major blow as one of the key-players in our national team will not be featuring in tomorrow's match due to injury. I guess he is just like Andrea Pirlo for Italy. Ahmed Hadid is the start of every strike and the first on the defense wall. Let's hope his replacement does the job today.

Other matches to keep an eye on tomorrow are:
Qatar x Australia
Iraq x China
Thailand x Japan
UAE x Kuwait

Good luck and may Oman win tomorrow. I would urge you all in Oman to go watch the match tomorrow. I just wish I was there for our national team, for Oman. If I could then I would certainly go to this match. Nothing will stop me from watching this match, it will be 14:30 here in England and I will go to my friends apartment to watch it.

May the best win.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Now open: 'Great Kabab Factory' and 'Mirchi'

The Great Kabab Factory has opened an outlet in Al Khuwair (Opposite to Radisson SAS hotel), and has on offer a range of delectable kababs, biriyani, Indian bread and desserts. The veg platter costs RO 6.9 and non-veg platter RO 7.9.

Mirchi, an Indian specialty restaurant, has opened at Ramee Guestline Hotel, Qurum (near Crown Plaza Hotel).

Sunday, February 3, 2008

HE Abdullah Abbas to Patronage Oman x Bahrain

Our national team's encounter against Bahrain on Wednesday the 6th of February will be held under the patronage of HE Abdullah Abbas, Head of Muscat Municipality. The match will be held at 18:30 in Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bowshar. The match is considered as the 3rd round of the 2010 World Cup Qualification, the World Cup will be held in South Africa.

The F.A. has sent invitations to a number of officials who are interested in the Sport event and to presidents of Omani football clubs.

The gates will be open to our loyal fans to come and support their national team on this huge event for the country. As this is a very important event for Omani football especially at this generation of players the national team has at the moment. Winning this game would highly affect the players and motivate them. So they need the loyal fans' support. I would like to urge you all to be there for the team. Just like you were all there in 2004 against Japan.

It is now certain that key-player Ahmed Hadid will miss this encounter due to the injury he suffered in the friendly humiliating match against Kuwait last week. This injury will leave him off the football pitch for 3 weeks according to tests he underwent.

The coach has chosen 22 players for the squad against Bahrain and they are as follows:
Imad Ali Al-Hosani, Fawzi Bin Bashir, Ismail Al-Ajmy, Ahmed Hadid, Ahmed bin Mubarak Al-Muhaijri, Khalifa bin Ayel Al-Nofali, Bader Al-Maimani, Mohamed Rabi'a Al-Nobi (C), Hashim bin Saleh Al-Balushi, Nabil bin Aashoor, Talal bin Khalfan Al-Farsi, Mohamed bin Mubarak Al-Hinai, Issam bin Fayel, Hussein Mudhafar, Bader bin Juma'a Al-Alawi, Mohamed bin Huwaidi, Hani Al-Dhabit, Ali bin Sleyum Al-Farsi, Mohamed bin Abdullah Al-Sheba, Hussein bin Ali Fareh, Ali Al-Habsi and Juma'a Darwish.

Good luck to the team and Inshallah this event will have it's own coverage in OCB.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Way To Go, Muscat Municipality!

I was discussing Muscat Festival with a friend, and he brought this video up. I checked it out on YouTube and got the shock of my life.

I want to clear out that whenever someone criticizes Muscat Festival, I ask that person to give them a break, they are improving year by year. But this just proves me wrong. When will these people behind organizing the festival ever learn? Who is to blame?

The video you are about to see is just disgusting, to all. Let alone KIDS! This particular show is supposed to be for kids.

I'll let you guys judge this. As I really have absolutely no comment for this.

Where is our great "History" .. Where are our "Traditions" .. Is this a part of our "Heritage"?

Way to go, Muscat Municipality! Someone seriously has to complain!