BAHRAIN’S former national football team captain Mohammed Salmeen announced his retirement from the game yesterday, but awaits his club’s (Muharraq) consent.
Salmeen had earlier retired from national duties after the 2013 Gulf Cup held in Bahrain where as captain he could not help his team win a medal. Bahrain finished fourth while the UAE claimed the title.
The 36-year-old started his career at Muharraq when he was promoted to the first team in 1999. He spend five years with the club and won a number of league and cup titles before moving to Qatari side Al Arabi in 2004.
During that time Salmeen also put in a superb performance for the national team, particularly in the 2004 Asia Cup where Bahrain finished fourth, the Kingdom’s best finish so far at the international level.
Saleem returned to Muharraq in 2007 for two more seasons before joining UAE’s Al Dhafra. But he only spend a year with Al Dhafra before rejoining his home club.
He is considered to be part of Bahrain’s golden generation which included the Hubail brothers, A’ala and Mohammed, Talal Yousuf, Salman Isa, Hussain Baba, Hussain ‘Pele’ Ali and goalkeeper Saed Jaffar.
With these stars playing key roles, Bahrain almost made it to the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. But lost at the last hurdle - in play-offs - to Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand respectively.
“I have spoken to the Muharraq board, I have informed the players and my fans are aware of it. I am just waiting for the Muharraq board’s decision,” said the veteran who has a running contract with the club and wants to respect it.
“The final decision is with the club,” said Salmeen, who is open to be registered for next season in case the club cannot find a suitable replacement for him.
Salmeen’s last game with Muharraq was their 1-0 win over Jordanian side Al Faisaly in the round of 16 of the 2016 AFC Cup. He played the first 68 minutes before making way for Mahdi Ali.
Salmeen carried on the family legacy admirably following in the footsteps of his father, the great Ahmed Salmeen, who was one of Bahrain’s best-ever players. Incidentally, both father and son wore the famous No. 10 jersey and took on the role of attacking midfielder.