Bahrain’s Al Ahli Club face off with Jakarta Bhayangkara Presisi from Indonesia tonight to get their title bid underway in the 2023 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship.
Bahrain is hosting the prestigious event until May 21, with 16 leading volleyball clubs from across the continent taking part.
The competition is being held under the patronage of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports first deputy chairman, General Sports Authority (GSA) chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
It is being organised by the Bahrain Volleyball Association (BVA), in co-operation with the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC), BOC and GSA.
Ahli’s game with Jakarta Bhayangkara Presisi gets underway at 7pm to headline the opening day’s action at Isa Sports City in Riffa.
Eight games are to be held each day at two halls at the tournament venue from 11.30am onwards. The concluding daily fixtures are scheduled to start no earlier than 7pm.
The BVA is inviting the general public to attend and enjoy the tournament’s lively atmosphere while cheering on the participating teams. Entrance to all games is free.
Ahli have finalised their 14-man roster for the tournament. The Bahrainis are to be led by local stars Nasser Anan, Mohammed Anan, Abbas Al Khabbaz, Emad Ali, Hasan Jaafar, Ali Marhoun, Ali Al Sairafi, Mahmood Abdulhussain, Ali Matar, Hussain Sultan and Mohammed Yaqoob. Their line-up is boosted by top international professionals in Gabriel Jose da Silva Candido from Brazil, Davide Saitta from Italy and Yosvany Hernandez from Cuba. Ahli are coached by Nezar Al Shakili.
In preparation for today’s start to the tournament, a series of meetings between tournament officials have been taking place over the past few days, along with inspections of the match venues and training courts.
The participating teams’ official uniforms for their games have also been presented and approved.
Ahli and Jakarta Bhayangkara Presisi are in Pool A for the championship’s preliminary round along with Korean Air Jumbos Pro-Volleyball Club from South Korea and Canberra Heat from Australia, both of whom clash in today’s other group fixture.
Pool B features Shahdab Yazd from Iran, South Gas Sports Club from Iraq, Taichung Bank from Chinese-Taipei, and Kam Air VC from Afghanistan. Pool C comprises Suntory Sunbirds from Japan, Diamond Food Fine Chef-Air Force from Thailand, Bayankhongor Crownd Geo VC from Mongolia, and Khaypil Sports Club from Yemen. Pool D features Atyrau VC from Kazakhstan, Police Sports Team from Qatar, Aspiring Volleyball Team from Hong Kong, and Kuwait SC from Kuwait.
Following a single round-robin, the top two teams from each preliminary-round pool move on to the round of eight, where they will again be divided into two further pools. The head-to-head results from the preliminaries will be carried over. That will then determine the teams that will advance to the knockout semi-finals.
The bottom two squads from the preliminary-round pools will play in the ensuing placement pools.
The champions of this year’s tournament will qualify for the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship.
The AVC’s sponsoring companies include Mikasa, Senoh Sports Equipment, Gerflor, Grand Sport, SMM Sport, PPTV HD 36, Coco MAX, Euro Cake, Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, Beger, EST Cola and Isuzu.
Additional sponsors are Ahli United Bank, National Bank of Bahrain, Jahez, Kuwait Finance House, GPIC, Tamkeen, Spartan Fitness, Southern Tourism Company, Al Saqi Factory, Al Fares Food Packing Factory, Baraka and Ulhsport.