Bahrain gear up for UAE test
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain continued their final preparations yesterday for their upcoming continental qualifier against the UAE tomorrow for the FIFA World Cup 2026.
The game is scheduled for a 6.45pm kick-off at the National Stadium in Riffa.
It will be their second contest in Group H in the second round of qualification under the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The match follows the Bahrainis’ 2-0 victory over Yemen last week in Abha, Saudi Arabia.
Tomorrow’s clash is also a qualifying affair for the AFC Asian Cup 2027.
The Emiratis were scheduled to arrive in the Kingdom yesterday ahead of the highly anticipated contest. Led by head coach Paulo Bento from Portugal, the UAE have a 27-player squad for the game.
The visitors head into the game high on confidence, having won their opening qualifier last week 4-0 against Nepal.
In order to generate maximum support for Bahrain’s national team in the qualifier, Bahrain Football Association (BFA) president Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa directed that Bahrain’s fans be given free entry for the match in the general stands.
There are also tickets for VIP seating that cost BD5 apiece. BFA officials also held a meeting yesterday with officials from local clubs, in order to coordinate the attendance of spectators in the game.
Bahrain head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has a squad of 30 players ready for tomorrow’s fixture.
The team that started their game against Yemen featured Abdulla Al Hashash and Hazza Ali in a strike partnership; Mohammed Al Hardan, Ebrahim Al Khattal, Mohammed Abdulwahab, Komail Al Aswad and Mohammed Jassim Marhoon forming a five-man midfield; Waleed Al Hayyam, Mohammed Adel and Amine Hasan in defence; and Ebrahim Luthfallah between the posts.
There are five rounds in the FIFA World Cup qualification format for the AFC, which will have eight teams book their tickets to the global showcase, plus potentially another following an inter-confederation play-off.
Thirty-six nations are directly in this second stage, 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 AFC Asian Cup 2027.
Aside from FIFA World Cup qualification, Bahrain are also gearing up for the next edition of the AFC Asian Cup, to be held in Doha in January of next year.