Bahrain will play Syria in a friendly match at the Muharraq Stadium tomorrow night.
Stung by a surprise 2-1 defeat to Palestine last Saturday in another friendly game, the hosts will be hoping for a better showing against the Syrians, whose confidence will be high after a 3-1 win against Thailand in a friendly match in Dubai, also on Saturday night.
The Syrians, who arrived in the kingdom yesterday, could prove to be a tough proposition, especially with newly-appointed coach, the highly-rated Hector Cuper, at the helm.
The 67-year-old Argentine, who took Valencia to successive Champions League finals just over two decades ago and guided Egypt to their first Fifa World Cup in 2018 for the first time in 28 years, took charge as the Syrian coach early last February.
Just four days after his appointment, a devastating earthquake killed more than 6,000 people in Syria and more than 48,000 in Turkey.
In his first Press conference shortly afterwards, Cuper said it was unfortunate that he took over “in this painful period” and said he had a great desire to make Syrian fans happy.
“I have a greater desire now to make the Syrian fans happy and all the people who have suffered lately,” he said. “We know that we cannot remove the pain, but we will try to ease the pain.
“I am happy to be among you amid these difficult circumstances, and I have found tremendous encouragement and a warm welcome since my arrival.”
Cuper, whose short-term contract as Syrian coach runs until the Asian Cup in Qatar in early 2024, will probably get insights on local players and conditions from attacking midfielder Mohammad Al Marmour and right-winger Mohammad Al Hallaq, both of whom play for Manama.
Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Portuguese coach Helio Sousa will doubtless shuffle the starting 11 for tomorrow’s game, with a few players who sat out the encounter against Palestine likely to feature on the team sheet from the beginning.
Regular goalkeeper Syed Mohamed Jaafar might play instead of Ammar Mohammed Abbas – who actually acquitted himself quite well against Palestine – while Mohamed Jassim Marhoon, Komail Alaswad, Mahdi Abdullatif, Ebrahim Lutfalla and Ebrahim Alkhattal could also find themselves in the starting lineup.
The game will kick off at 9.30pm.
Ali Madan, Mohammed Jassim Marhoon, Ahmed Bughammar, Mahdi Humaidan, Mohammed Adel, Mohammed Hardan, Sayed Dhiya Saeed, Ahmed Nabeel, Ammar Abbas, Ebrahim Al Khattal, Mahdi Abduljabbar, Mahdi Abdullatif, Abdulla Al Khalasi, Amine Hasan, Hamza Juban, Waleed Al Hayyam, Sayed Mohammed Jaafar, Abbas Fadhel, Ebrahim Al Luthfallah, Omar Salem, Hussein Ali Abdulla
Ibrahim Alama, Ahmed Madaniah, Maxim Sarraf, Thaer Kroma, Amr Midani, Abdullah Al Shami, Faris Arnaout, Saad Ahmed, Amr Janiyat, Khaled Kurdghali, Abdul Rahman Weiss, Fahd Al Youssef, Kamel Hamisha, Simon Amin, Oliver Qusko, Muhammad Anz, Muhammad Rihaniyya, Mulham Babouli, Muhammad Othman, Mahmoud Al Mawas, Ammar Ramadan, Muhammad Al-Marmour, Mohammad Al Hallaq, Omar Khribin, and Omar Al Somah.