*** ----> Bahrain eye Asian handball glory | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain eye Asian handball glory

TDT | Manama                                                       

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Twenty-six players have been called up to Bahrain’s senior men’s national handball team for the start of their preparations for the 21st Asian Men’s Handball Championship. The prestigious competition is to be hosted by the Kingdom from 11 to 25 January next year.

The continental tournament, organised in cooperation with the Asian Handball Federation, also acts as a qualifier for 2025 IHF World Men’s Handball Championship. The national team roster includes four of Bahrain’s overseas-based stars, including veterans Hussain Al Sayyad and Mohammed Abdulhussain from Al Khaleej Club of Saudi Arabia, Ali Eid of Al Taraji from Saudi, and Mohammed Habib Nasser of Al Houda, also from Saudi.

The rest of the squad features Abdulla Al Zaimour, Mahdi Saad, Mujtaba Al Zaimour, Hassan Mirza, Mohammed Mirza, Mohammed Habib Ahmed and Mohammed Ali from national champions Al Najma; Hassan Shehab, Hussain Al Samaheeji, Ali Mirza and Hussain Mahfouz from Al Ahli; Mohammed Hameed and Ali Mahmood from Al Ettifaq; Hussain Abdulla Makki, Hesham Ahmed, Ali Al Asheeri and Hassan Madan from Al Dair; Muntaz Ebrahim from Tadhamun; Ahmed Jaal, Ahmed Redha and Jassim Khamis from Al Shabab; and Qassim Qambar from Barbar.

Head coach Aron Kristjansson will be managing the Bahrainis. According to a Bahrain Handball Association official, he is scheduled to arrive in the Kingdom next week for the nationals’ preparations for the event.

Their programme includes two friendly games at home later this month against their counterparts from Iraq and Morocco. They then travel to France to participate in an international tournament featuring European teams before returning to the Kingdom.

A total of 16 nations are competing in the Asian championship, with the top five securing places at the worlds. Bahrain are in Group D along with the UAE, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan for the preliminary round. Group A features defending champions Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Chinese Taipei.

Group B includes Iran, South Korea, China and New Zealand; and Group C is composed of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, India and Japan. Bahrain is hosting the continental competition for the fourth time in its history. It previously also staged the event in 2016, 2014 and 1993.

The Bahrainis have never won the Asian men’s title, but have claimed the silver medals five times in the past and also won the bronze medal once. The nationals claimed their silver in 2010, 2014, 2016, 2018 and in last year’s championship. Their bronze medal was won in 1995. Qatar are the reigning champions. They have won the gold medal the last five editions of the tournament.