Key Players: Mohamed Almaqabi
(Left Back), Husain Alsayyad (Centre Back), Jaafar Adbulqader (Left Back),
Mohamed Abdulla (Goalkeeper)
Road to Qualification: Runners-Up –
2016 AHF Asian Men’s Championships
History in Tournament: 1954-2009:
DNQ, 2011 – 23rd, 2013-2015: DNQ
flying the 5,000km or so to Paris, the Bahrain men’s national team may be
disappointed to come up against their fierce continental rivals of recent years
– Qatar. They face their Asian counterparts in their second Group D match after
opening their France 2017 campaign against Sweden.
number two is also significant for Bahrain as the 25th IHF Men’s World
Championship represents just their second time in the elite national team
global handball tournament. They qualified after finishing as runners-up to
Qatar on home soil, in Isa Town, at the 2016 AHF Asian Men’s Championships back
in January 2016.
up to the final with wins over Lebanon (41:18), China (41:18), United Arab
Emirates (28:26), Iran (27:16) and Saudi
Arabia (25:24) in the preliminary round, and Japan (29:23) in the semi-finals,
Bahrain were looking for revenge following their 2014 defeat against Qatar
(27:26) in the same tournament, but Bahrain were put in their place by the 2015
world championship runners-up, losing 27:22.
April, in their last global tournament, Bahrain missed out on qualifying for the
Rio 2016 Olympic Games after finishing behind Croatia and Denmark at the IHF Men’s
Olympic Qualification Tournament III held at the Jyske Bank BOXEN in Herning,
confusing the Norwegian attack in their first match with an aggressive defence
alternating between 3-2-1 and 3-3 systems Bahrain created an early 5:2 lead, but
it did not take long for Norway to find solutions and they went on to win.
were level with Croatia at half-time in their second match, but after failing
to score for six minutes into the second period, the Asian side eventually lost
their third and final match, and in what could be a sign of their strength at
France 2017, Bahrain lost to eventual Rio 2016 gold medallists, and home side
Denmark 26:24 (12:12) but their aggressive defence paid first-half benefits and,
missing their two best right wings and their two best right backs due to
injury, Bahrain were not able to hold on and eventually lost.
Left back Mohamed Almaqabi who plays his club handball for Barbar (Bahrain) and
centre back Husain Alsayyad, who plays for Alnudher Saudi, both scored 12 in
that tournament. They were backed up by Al Najma goalkeeper Mohamed Abdulla in
Denmark and Abdel-Djalil Ouanani, who coached the team back then, could select
some young up and coming stars like goalkeeper Yusuf Yaqoob and centre back
Hasan Isachosen – both 19-years-old – in his squad for France 2017.
coach Ouanani will be concerned by their lack of clinical finishing – despite their
161 shots at the OQTIII being the highest – which could prove to be a stumbling
block in Group D at France 2017 as they face the tough attacking flair of
Qatar, Egypt, Denmark, Sweden and Argentina.
a nation where handball is a relative young sport – the first board of
directors was founded in 1972 – the game in Bahrain has featured many diverse
stops since its foundation.
and youth teams broke onto the world stage, qualifying for world championships
in the 1990s, before their historic eighth-place finish at the 2007 IHF Men’s
Youth World Championship held on home soil.
Bahrain’s most impressive achievement was yet to come, as in 2009, the men’s
senior team made their nation proud by booking their first-ever berth in the world
championships in 2011 in Sweden, having finished second overall in the 14th
Asian Championship finals in Beirut.
Scandinavia, they lost, as expected, their preliminary group games against
Spain (33:22), Germany (38:18), France (41:17) and Tunisia (28:21) but an
impressive performance against Egypt in their final group game saw them make a small
piece of history, winning 27:26, despite being behind 16:15 at the break.
the win they finished bottom of their group and went on to face Brazil in the
Preliminary Round of the President’s Cup. A heavy 37:30 loss, where Almaqabi
scored six, saw them proceed to the 23rd placement match, but an easy victory
over Australia (33:23) ensured they did not finish last in their debut
better than 23rd place will be seen as success for the Asian side at France
Group at France 2017
D: Qatar, Egypt, Denmark, Sweden, Argentina, Bahrain
Group games at France
All times local
13 January: SWE-BRN
15 January: BRN-QAT
16 January: EGY-BRN
18 January: DEN-BRN (17:45)
20 January: BRN-ARG
To view all match information at France 2017 CLICK HERE.
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