NewsDetails

Date: 1/10/2017
 

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

 

Overview

After 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.

 

The 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.

 

Unbeaten 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.

 

In 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, Denmark.

 

After 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. 

 

Bahrain 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 33:22 (14:14).

 

In 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.

 

27-year-old 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.

 

But 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.

 

For 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.

 

Junior 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.

 

However, 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.

 

In 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.

 

Despite 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 tournament.

 

Anything better than 23rd place will be seen as success for the Asian side at France 2017.

 

Group at France 2017

Group D: Qatar, Egypt, Denmark, Sweden, Argentina, Bahrain

 

Group games at France 2017

All times local

 

Friday 13 January: SWE-BRN (17:45)

Sunday 15 January: BRN-QAT (17:45)

Monday 16 January: EGY-BRN (17:45)

Wednesday 18 January: DEN-BRN (17:45)

Friday 20 January: BRN-ARG (14:00)

 

To view all match information at France 2017 CLICK HERE.

 

IHF Social Media during France 2017

Follow the 2017 IHF Men’s World Championship on the IHF.info France 2017 mini-site on our website, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google+.

 

Official France 2017 channels

Join in the conversation around the world using the hashtag #PhenomenalHandball and through the official France 2017 channels – website (EN), website (FR), Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

 

 

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