Meet the Asia Cup 2022 Teams: Bahrain
JAKARTA (Indonesia) - Bahrain are one of the teams that didn’t play in Asia Cup 2017 but will be competing in this year’s edition of the competition. They’ve been building up their youth talents over the recent years and would certainly like to show the youngsters what the national team is building towards in Jakarta.
Let’s take a quick moment to meet Bahrain in this "Meet the Teams" series!
World Rank according to FIBA World Ranking Presented by Nike: 106
Bahrain are currently the only Asia Cup team outside of the top 100 in the World Ranking and top 20 in the Asia Ranking, but expect that to change soon.
Ever since the start of the Asia Cup Qualifiers, Bahrain have been one of the fastest rising teams in the Ranking whether it’s going up 7 spots (from 113) in the World Ranking or going up 3 spots (from 24 to 21) in the Asia Ranking.
Bahrain have been pushing hard for the improvement of their program and they will certainly be pleased to a certain level with the tangible results inn this area.
Asia Cup Debut: 1977
Bahrain first played in Asia Cup 1977 and, as most Asia Cup debutants do, had to play against China in the Preliminary Round. Aside from China, they also played against Iraq, Thailand, and Singapore, suffering losses to all teams.
In the Classification round, however, Bahrain were able to score their first Asia Cup win ever against Sri Lanka and would later get a second win over Indonesia in the tightest of margins, 75-74. They were close to getting a third win over Hong Kong, but eventually lost, 77-75.
All in all, Bahrain ended up at 12th place in the first Asia Cup appearance.
Asia Cup Appearances (including 2022): 9
Bahrain’s Asia Cup appearances have been here and there. They played in a second consecutive Asia Cup after their debut, and after missing a few appearances, returned in the 90s.
They finished strong with two appearance in the later part of the decade before being out of Asia Cup action for another decade. After two straight appearances (again) in 2011 and 2013, Bahrain missed a few Asia Cups.
Long story short, Bahrain are back for Asia Cup 2022.
Most Recent Appearance: 2013
What a year it could have been for Bahrain in 2013, their most recent Asia Cup appearance.
Bahrain were placed in Group D along with India, Kazakhstan, and Thailand. They barely missed being placed first after suffering an overtime loss to Kazakhstan, 79-76, but also nearly ended up at third with an overtime win over India 82-80.
Had they finished in first place of Group D, Bahrain might have been able to make their first ever appearance in the Quarter-Finals. Instead, they missed out and ended up at 12th after losses to Hong Kong and India in the qualification games.
Best Position in Final Standings: 10th place (1997)
Bahrain didn’t have the luck of the draw back in 1997 as they did in 2013, but it turned out to be the year where they had their best Final Standings finish yet.
Bahrain were placed in Group A along with the defending champs China, Iran, and Philippines. They were able to beat Philippines ever so slightly, 70-68, but ultimately lost to China and Iran, leaving them out of the Quarter-Finals.
In the Qualification for Classification games, Bahrain swept through their group convincingly to set up a rematch against the Philippines for 9th place. Unfortunately, Bahrain would lose in this game but their 10th place finish is still the highest they’ve ended up with in the Asia Cup.
Notable Player(s): Husain Altawash
While Bahrain aren’t as storied of a national team program as some of the others that will be at Asia Cup 2022, they do have some recognizable names to make note of. One of those players is Husain Altawash, a key guard in both of Bahrain’s Asia Cup runs in 2011 and 2013.
The guard averaged 10.6 points per game for Bahrain over the course of these two Asia Cups, highlighted by and 11-poinnt, 4-rebound, 3 assist effort in a win against Thailand in 2013
In that same year, Altawash also had 29 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists albeit in the loss to Hong Kong.
How they got here:
Along with Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, Bahrain are one of the teams at Asia Cup 2022 that were also a part of the Pre-Qualifiers.
They topped all teams, including Saudi Arabia, at the GBA Pre-Qualifiers. In the Western Region Pre-Qualifiers, they finish at third, but the task of advancing to the Qualifiers was completed nonetheless.
From there, Bahrain were one of the fastest teams to qualify for Asia Cup 2022. Even though they suffered pretty big losses to Lebanon inn Group D, that was pretty much the case for every other team in the group as well.
Bahrain handled their business against both India and Iraq, in dramatic fashion, too., to clinch qualification a one of the top two seeds in the group.
Current Outlook: Time to show and tell
Bahrain have made big efforts to solidfy their national team program for success at a higher level in the recent years. Qualifying for the Asia Cup itself is a big accomplishment and now their next mission is to make as big of a splash as possible at the main event.
The talent pool has some interesting talents, namely Muzamil Hamoda, who is determined to be one of the best ever to play for Bahrain. He’s displayed flashes of great potential in the Qualifiers, averaging over 10 points per game, and Bahrain will be hoping that he will be capable of much more going up against the best in Asia.