This was confirmed yesterday by Bahrain Football Association (BFA) technical director and competitions committee head Hassan Ismail.
Abu Hantash met with his squad last night at the BFA pitches in Riffa. BFA women’s committee head Shaikha Hessa bint Khalid Al Khalifa was also on hand.
Abu Hantash’s signing is timely as the women’s national team is set to compete in the qualifying tournament for the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
Bahrain are in group ‘C’ of the qualifiers along with Vietnam, Hong Kong and Kyrgyzstan.
All the group matches are set to be played here in the kingdom this May, making for an exciting occasion for Bahrain’s women’s football fans.
“We are looking forward to hosting these qualifying matches here in Bahrain and with the appointment of our new women’s head coach, we are confident that the national team will be ready for the competition,” Ismail told the GDN last night.
The last time Bahrain hosted a major women’s tournament was in October of 2010 when the Women’s Football Cup Arabia was held.
Eight Arab teams competed in the event, including Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Qatar, hosts Bahrain and champions Jordan, who were then being coached by Abu Hantash. The Bahrainis finished third in the competition.
The tournament was a huge success, and it was part of the lead up to the 2011 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Germany.
Abu Hantash is scheduled to officially begin his duties with Bahrain today. The women’s squad is currently composed of 23 players, many of whom were also playing for Bahrain at the Football Cup Arabia, including Shaikha Al Anood Al Khalifa, Yasmine Fayez and Reem Al Hashimi, to name but a few.
Bahrain will be one of 16 teams from across the continent that will be aiming to qualify for the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
There are four qualifying groups in all, and only the group winners will book a ticket to the continental showcase.
Group ‘A’, to be played in Amman, features Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Kuwait and hosts Jordan. Group ‘B’, to be held in Dhaka, includes Thailand, Iran, the Philippines, and hosts Bangladesh. Group ‘D’, to be played in the West Bank, comprises Myanmar, Chinese-Taipei, India and hosts Palestine.
The group ‘C’ qualifiers will be taking place between May 22 and 26 at the National Stadium in Riffa. Bahrain take on Vietnam in their first fixture on opening night, to be followed by a match with Hong Kong on May 24. They then play their final game against Kyrgyzstan on May 26.
The 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup will feature just eight teams. Four teams have already gained entry, including defending champions Australia, Japan, China and South Korea.
It will also serve as a continental qualifying tournament for the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup.
Article: Patrick Salomon
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