YOUTH and Sports Affairs Minister Ayman bin Tawfiq Al Moayyed yesterday led the chorus praising the Bahrain team members following their remarkable victory over Iraq in a thrilling penalty shootout in Doha on Thursday in the semi-final of the 24th Gulf Cup.
The minister said that Bahrain’s achievement has been the result of the support of His Majesty the King’s Representative for Charity Works and Youth Affairs and Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
He stressed that Bahrain’s success in the semi-final was the outcome of their outstanding performance throughout the match, which reflects their resolve to give their best for the country.
Bahrain Football Association (BFA) president Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa also praised the Bahrain players for their determination and focus.
Shaikh Ali was present at the stadium during the semi-final and, after the match, met the players on the field and congratulated them along with other BFA members.
It was a well-deserved victory, he added, hailing the efforts of the players as well as the technical and administrative staff.
Tomorrow’s final against Saudi Arabia, starting at 8pm, will be tough, but Bahrain will come up with an outstanding performance, Shaikh Ali added.
Bahrain reached the semi-finals finishing runners-up in Group ‘B’ with four points while Saudi Arabia topped the group.
In the semi-finals they overcame Iraq on penalties (5-3) after extra-time ended 2-2.
Meanwhile, the Bahrain team resumed training yesterday under the guidance of Portuguese coach Helio Sousa. All 23 players in the squad attended the training.
Bahrain player Mohamed Al Hardan said the team deserved to qualify for the final. He said that all the players were determined to stage a comeback after their tie with Oman and the loss to Saudi Arabia in the group stage.
The midfielder said that the team displayed its strength in the final Group ‘B’ match against Kuwait and the semi-final against Iraq and are keen to make Bahrain proud in the final.
Defender Sayyed Mahdi Baqer praised Bahrain’s discipline and focus during the semi-final, adding that it was through sheer determination that they could overcome a strong opponent like Iraq.