Al Najma celebrated their promotion to the Nasser Bin Hamad Premier League in fine style last night by hammering Isa Town 5-2 at Khalifa Sports City Stadium in their last Second Division game of the season.
Stung by their relegation to the second-tier competition after they finished at the bottom of the 10-team table in the 2021-22 edition of Bahrain’s premier football tournament, Al Najma turned their fortunes around over the last few months as they topped the 12-team Second Division table with 55 points from 22 games, losing only once and winning 17 times.
Their promotion to Premier League was sealed weeks ago after a string of consecutive victories propelled them well clear of second-placed Busaiteen – who have also qualified for the top-tier tournament –who finished with 41 points.
“Yes, we had a big win and the team has returned to its normal place in the Nasser Bin Hamad Premier League,” a delighted Al Najma Club president Shaikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al Khalifa told the GDN as he left the stadium after celebrating the team’s success with the players and support staff.
“We learnt from our mistakes when we got relegated and the players and coaching staff worked very hard to get us back into the Premier League.
“But the real work starts now. The country’s premier football competition is tough and we have to be prepared to do well in the coming season.”
The Al Najma president added that the hiring of a respected Bahraini coach and the addition of new players to the squad had given a new impetus to the team.
“Our new coach has brought calm and stability into the dressing room,” he explained. “And our new players have all acquitted themselves well.
“Our Brazilian striker, Juninho – his real name is Edimar Ribeiro da Costa Junior – has been outstanding. He joined us at the start of the season and has scored 23 goals which makes him, by far, the top scorer of this tournament. The next best, I think, was 12.
“So we benefited from having an outstanding striker and a top-level defence and the balance in the coaching staff gave us stability.
“And, as we celebrate our promotion, we are grateful to our fans, our supporters and our board of directors.”
The team would now focus on the next season and look at players that would help them to present a real challenge for the 2023-24 title, the Al Najma president added.
“We’ll be signing some new players in the off-season but I can’t reveal their names to you just yet,” he said. “I can just tell you that we’ll have four new additions that will enable us to challenge the other teams for the title next season.”