Groundhopping in Bahrain #4 – Muharraq Stadium (Muharraq vs. Al Ahed – AFC Cup)

With my first forays into Bahraini football finding nought but low attendances, single-stand grounds and a distinct lack of visible fan culture, I was looking forward to visiting Muharraq, Bahrain’s footballing powerhouse and by far their most supported club.

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Groundhopping in Bahrain #3 – Riffa Sports Club (Al Khaldiya vs. Isa Town)

Alexander Hleb is not here. The ex-Arsenal Belorussian has apparently signed for the home team but after a social media unveiling of sorts a few months back, it’s been radio silence. I’m getting the impression that he was just “signed” to come over for a meet and greet, but it’s hard to tell from the posts on Al Khaldiya’s Instagram. Either way, I’m getting Asprilla at Darlington vibes from this one.

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Groundhopping in Bahrain #2 – National Stadium (Bahrain vs. Haiti)

Tonight is my first visit to Bahrain’s National Stadium in Riffa, and I’m here to catch the national team against CONCACAF’s Haiti in the first game of a three-way friendly tournament (Jordan make up the ménage, visiting the island next week).

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Groundhopping in Bahrain #1 – Hamad Town Stadium (Al Ittifaq vs. Tadamun Buri)

The first place on my Bahraini groundhopping tour is Hamad Town Stadium, home of – I think – both of today’s teams. It’s often hard to work out who plays where in Bahrain because a lot of the games default to the National Stadium. I’m not sure why, but I’ll no doubt find out. It can’t be for logistical reasons as you can travel between the two furthest grounds in 25 minutes.

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Two Seas, 8 Stadiums: Groundhopping in Bahrain

Welcome to a shift in tone for Sub Story. Budapest’s wonderful old stadiums are no more, my Vasas season card sits idle in my wallet, and I’ve said goodbye to my erstwhile matchday companions Kev and Mike. Instead we (metaphorically) and I (literally) move to Bahrain – a name which means Two Seas. The country is a small island in the Gulf, located between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

I’ve just moved back here, and am primed to do some more groundhopping, but unfortunately information in English on Bahraini club football is thin on the ground – hopefully I’ll be able to learn and share a few things on my travels so that visiting fans can step into the world of Bahraini football more easily. Let’s take a look at what’s in store.

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Last Match in Budapest (Vasas vs. Soroksár)

So it looks like this is my last football match in Budapest. I’m making the move back to my adopted home of Bahrain next month; the second lockdown in Hungary is upon us; and all games are going back behind closed doors. There was an inevitability about this announcement, despite Vasas taking all the precautions they could to stop the spread of Covid at their matches it was never going to be enough with the spike in numbers here.

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Corona Ends Vasas Promotion Hopes

On the long list of important things affected by Covid-19, a late promotion push by Hungarian second division team Vasas FC is probably not foremost in your brainspace, nor was it in mine. Football is not just secondary right now, it’s so low down the list of priorities as to be near-irrelevant given the loss and disruption inflicted by Coronavirus. Still, I started this season so I’ll finish it with a quick update.

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1979 – The Brazilians in Bahrain

Photo courtesy of bna.bh

By Daniel Cochran

Brazil in the late 70s and early 80s are often cited as the greatest team not to win a World Cup. With players such as Sócrates, Zico and Falcão starring in midfield, the Brazilians had fans flocking to see them play on their many worldwide travels. A friendly match against the Seleção was not just a stern test, but also a feather in the cap of a country’s FA – and a strong step towards footballing legitimacy.

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