BAHRAIN’S under-23 Olympic football team suffered a disheartening 0-3 defeat to their counterparts from Syria last night in an international friendly matched played at Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town.
Two of the visitors’ goals came in the first half.
The friendly was the Olympic team’s second within a week against the Syrians and their fourth in two months, after they had also played a pair of tune-up games against Iraq in September.
The Bahrainis, who are coached by Samir Ben Chammam from Tunisia, are using the friendlies as part of their preparations for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship, which takes place in January of next year in Thailand.
The Bahrainis are scheduled to continue their preparations for the upcoming AFC competition in the next couple of months. They will be playing in the tournament’s preliminary round in a tough Group ‘A’, where they will be facing the under-23 teams of continental powerhouses Australia and Iraq as well as hosts Thailand.
It will be the first time Bahrain are competing in the AFC Under-23 Championship. They booked their spot in the tournament after winning their group in the qualification event held earlier this year.
The Bahrainis open their tournament campaign against the host Thais on January 8, after which they play Iraq on January 11. They then take to their final group match on January 14 against the Aussies.
Only the top two teams from each of the four groups advance to the quarter-finals.