Futsal team ‘could create surprises at Asian Cup’

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Bahrain’s current futsal squad contains outstanding players and could hold some surprises at the upcoming 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup for which it has qualified for the third time in a row since 2018, it said yesterday. the team manager.

“This team is probably the strongest we’ve ever fielded,” said Raed Baba, who also previously captained the team. Google Display Network by phone from Fujaira in the United Arab Emirates after Bahrain drew their last group game against Iraq in the three-team Asian Cup West Zone Group B qualifying round to finish second of the rank. “We are confident that we can create some upsets and cause surprises in the Asian Cup.”

The team had already qualified for the Asian Cup, which will be hosted by Kuwait in September, the day before by beating the formidable United Arab Emirates team, relegated to third place because they also lost their match. opener, 0-2, against possible table tops, Iraq.

The UAE could still travel to Kuwait if they win a play-off today against Oman, who finished third in West Zone Group A, behind Lebanon and Saudi Arabia and ahead of fourth-placed Palestine.

“We were also keen to beat Iraq and we could have done that, if not for a few missed chances,” Baba said of the game which ended in a 1-1 draw, allowing the Iraq to sneak past Bahrain on goal difference after both teams. level finished in points. “But we are very happy to have qualified for the third time in a row and we hope to improve our performance compared to 2018, when we reached the quarter-finals and lost 2-0 against a very strong Japanese team.

It is Bahrain’s fourth overall qualification for the Asian Cup, with their first appearance in 2002 ending in a first-round exit. The 2020 edition, several times delayed due to Covid-19, was eventually canceled with designated hosts, with Kuwait retaining hosting rights for the 2022 competition.

A sport based on association football, futsal is mainly played indoors between two teams of five players each, one of whom is a goalkeeper, on a hard surface smaller than a football field. The surface and rules promote ball control and passing in small spaces with a smaller, harder, low-bounce ball than football. The sport was invented in Uruguay in 1930 by a teacher who wanted to create a team game, similar to football, that could be played indoors or outdoors.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) organizes the Asian Cup, formerly known as the AFC Futsal Championship, which was first played in 1999 and held annually until 2008. Since then , it is organized every two years. Iran and Japan have dominated the tournament, with Iran winning 12 of the 15 editions held so far, with Japan winning the other three.

The 16-team tournament also serves as the qualifying round for the FIFA Futsal World Cup, with the top five teams taking part in the global event.

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