Friday, July 20, 2007

Bahrain to rebuild with "new generation" of players

Bahrain’s national team is heading for a major overhaul after its early exit from the Asian Cup. Reports said the Bahrain Football Association is looking to a “new generation” of players to take over after the present batch failed to live up to expectations since coming close to qualifying for last year’s FIFA World Cup. “There will be plenty of changes in the Bahrain team,” BFA Vice-President Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa told AFP in Jakarta. "Many of our current players will be gone, and we will replace them with a new generation of young stars.” He confirmed that Milan Macala will be staying on as head coach. Macala, who only took over the team on 1 May, said it had been difficult for him to prepare the squad with so many players unavailable to make the trip.

“We missed 12 players and you simply can’t find replacements from the Bahrain league as you might have in the Saudi League,” he said. “Bahrain have many professional players who play while Saudi Arabia national team is formed from players who play with Saudi clubs and they had serious preparation while we had only days before the competition. Everyone saw that the Saudi Arabia national team changed nearly all their players except two or three players. They have a strong league with five or six top teams. However, we in Bahrain can’t change the full team and it is very difficult in such a small country to easily find replacements,” he said.

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