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Bahrain face Kuwait challenge in friendly

Football
Thu, 14 Dec 2017


BAHRAIN take on Kuwait on Monday in an international friendly match being held as part of both teams’ preparations for their upcoming campaign in the 23rd Gulf Cup.

The exhibition game is scheduled to kick off at around 6.45pm and it will be played at the National Stadium in Riffa.

The Gulf Cup is scheduled to be played in Kuwait City from December 22.

Eight teams are competing in the tournament. Bahrain have been drawn in Group ‘B’ alongside defending champions Qatar, Iraq and Yemen.

Hosts Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE make up Group ‘A’.

After a single round-robin, the top two teams from each group move on to the semi-finals. Action will be played until the final match on January 5.

The match schedule for the group stage will be announced soon.

Bahrain’s senior men’s national team have already begun training for the Gulf Cup under head coach Miroslav Soukup. According to a team official, Soukup will be finalising his squad of 23 for the competition proper either by today or after the Kuwait friendly.

Fly

The nationals are scheduled to fly to Kuwait City ahead of the start of the competition on December 20.

Bahrain Football Association (BFA) President Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa will be headlining the travelling delegation. Several other high-ranking officials from the BFA will also be with the the squad.

Teams competing in this year’s Gulf Cup will have had little time to prepare for the tournament as it was only confirmed to be going on last December 7 when Fifa lifted its ban on the Kuwait Football Association.

The original hosts of the competition were Qatar, but due to certain circumstances beyond the control of the teams, Bahrain along with Saudi and the UAE withdrew. Following the lifting of the suspension, the move to Kuwait as Gulf Cup hosts was welcomed by all.

Qatar defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1 in the final of the tournament’s previous edition in 2014 held in Saudi. Bahrain failed to make it through to the knockout stage and had to settle for a final classification of seventh overall amongst eight teams.

Bahrain have never won the Gulf Cup, despite having competed in the tournament from its very start in 1970. The national team’s best finish has been runner-up four times in the past, including in its inaugural years, then in 1982, 1992 and in 2003.

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