*** ----> Pizzi makes first call-ups | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Pizzi makes first call-ups

TDT | Manama                                     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Bahrain’s Juan Antonio Pizzi has made his first call-ups as the new head coach of the Kingdom’s senior men’s national football team.

The 30-player squad list was announced yesterday by the Bahrain Football Association (BFA). Pizzi’s selections include three of the Kingdom’s leading overseas-based talents, along with top names from national champions Al Khaldiya, Riffa, Muharraq, Manama, Al Ahli and Hidd.

The Bahrainis are scheduled to gather locally on 10 August and continue their daily practices in Bahrain until 17 August.

They will then travel to Belgrade, where they will conduct their camp under Pizzi’s supervision until 2 September.

From there, the nationals will fly directly to Dubai and continue their training programme until 13 September. During this period, the Bahrainis will play at least two international friendlies against yet-to-be-determined opponents.

The schedule was confirmed to TDT yesterday by a national team official. The three overseas-based professionals amongst Pizzi’s selections are Ali Madan from Ajman Club in the UAE, Mohammed Marhoon from Kuwait SC in Kuwait, and Abdulla Yusuf from FK Mlada Boleslav in the Czech Republic.

From Khalidiya are Mohammed Adel, Ahmed Bughammar, Sayed Dhiya Saeed, Mohammed Al Hardan, Mahdi Humaidan and Mahdi Abduljabbar.

Called up from Riffa are Abdulkarim Al Fardan, Sayed Redha Issa, Jassim Al Shaikh, Ali Haram, Komail Al Aswad and Ali Hasan. Sayed Mohammed Jaafar, Hussain Jameel, Abdulla Al Khalasi, Amine Hasan, Hamza Al Juban, Waleed Al Hayyam, Mubarak Mohammed and Ahmed Al Sherooqi are from Muharraq; While Ammar Mohammed, Ahmed Nabeel, Ahmed Moussa and Ibrahim Al Khattal have been selected from Manama.

The squad list is completed by Ebrahim Lutfhallah and Abbas Al Asfoor from Ahli; and Talal Al Sherooqi from Hidd. Bahrain are gearing up for an important period in the coming months, as they kick off their continental qualification campaign for the 2026 FIFA World Cup this November.

They will then compete in the next edition of the AFC Asian Cup in Doha in January of next year. These will be the national team’s first big games under Pizzi, under whom the BFA is hopeful that the Kingdom qualifies for its first-ever World Cup.

There are five rounds in the qualification format for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which will have eight teams book their tickets to the global showcase plus potentially another following an inter-confederation play-off.

Bahrain will play directly in the second round. They have been drawn in a competitive Group H along with the UAE, and either Yemen or Sri Lanka and Nepal or Laos. There are 36 nations in all in this phase, divided into nine groups of four. The teams will play against each other on a home-and-away basis.

The nine group winners and group runners-up advance to the third round. In addition to this, they will also automatically qualify for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup. Matches in this stage of qualification will continue until June of next year.