AFC Asian Cup 2019, Team Preview: Bahrain
With impressive performances in the lead-up to the Asian Cup, Czech coach Miroslav Soukup expects Bahrain to sail through to the knockouts. With this in mind, let's take a look at the team.
Competing in their fifth successive Asian Cup, Bahrain suffered a disappointing run in the 2015 edition where they ended up in eleventh place. They suffered defeats in their opening two encounters against Iran and the Emirates, which sealed their exit from the competition even though they defeated Qatar in their last game. Sayed Jaafar Ahmed, Jaycee John Okwunwanne and Sayed Saeed scored one goal each.
Their best performance came in 2004 when they finished fourth. They made their debut in 1988, and have won four of their 19 matches to register a win percentage of 21% along with ten defeats and five draws.
Bahrain have played only ten friendlies this year but have put on impressive performances with four victories, three defeats, and three drawn games. Their 4-0 scoreline against North Korea on 29th Dec 2018 would surely inspire them to play better when they take on the hosts in their initial game.
Thirty-year-old Jamal Rashid has scored four International goals from 30 appearances for his country. Playing for Al-Muharraq SC in Bahrain, he will be a vital cog in Bahrain’s set-up.
Al-Nasr midfielder Sayed Dhiya Saeed would also be a key player to watch out for during Bahrain‘s campaign. With five goals from 66 appearances, he has the potential to step up on the big stage for Bahrain.
Saturday, 05 January 2019: Bahrain (113) vs United Arab Emirates (79) - Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi at 21:30 IST.
Thursday, 10 January 2019: Bahrain (113) vs Thailand (118) - Al-Maktoum Stadium, Dubai at 16:30 IST.
Monday, 14 January 2019: Bahrain (113) vs India (97) - Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah at 21:30 IST.
Bahrain enjoys a good head-to-head record against India and Thailand, but has gone down to the Emirates in their last five meetings. The Reds are likely to finish runners-up behind the hosts which would pit them against Uzbekistan in their last sixteen match-up. Iran would be their likely opponents in the quarter-finals if they can make it that far.
Average Age: 26 years.
International Caps: 418.
International Goals: 27.
Head Coach: Miroslav Soukup (Czech Republic)
Goalkeepers: Sayed Shubbar Alawi (Bahrain Al-Najma), Yusuf Habib (Bahrain Malkiya Club), Abdulkarim Fardan (Bahrain Al-Riffa).
Defenders: Sayed Baqer (Kuwait Al-Nasr), Waleed Al Hayam (Bahrain Al-Muharraq), Hamad Al-Shamsan (Bahrain Al-Riffa), Ahmed Merza (Bahrain Al-Hidd), Ahmed Juma (Bahrain Al-Muharraq), Sayed Redha Isa (Bahrain Al-Riffa), Ahmed Bughammar (Bahrain Al-Hidd), Ahmed Abdulla (Bahrain Al-Najma).
Midfielders: Sayed Dhiya Saeed (Kuwait Al-Nasr), Abdulwahab Al-Safi (Bahrain Al-Muharraq), Mohamed Marhoon (Bahrain Al-Riffa), Ali Madan (Bahrain Al-Najma), Ali Haram (Bahrain Al-Riffa), Jasim Al-Shaikh (Bahrain Al-Ahli), Komail Al Aswad (Bahrain Al-Riffa), Jamal Rashid (Bahrain Al-Muharraq).
Strikers: Mahdi Al-Humaidan (Bahrain Al-Ahli), Abdulla Yusuf Helal (Czech Republic Bohemians), Mohamed Al Romaihi (Bahrain Manama Club), Sami Al-Husaini (Bahrain East Riffa).