BAHRAIN'S Olympic football team were yesterday honoured in a ceremony held at the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) premises in Riffa for their title success in the recently concluded fifth Huawei GCC Under-23 Championship.
At the event, the team's members were presented with special monetary gifts provided by His Majesty King Hamad.
BFA vice-president for financial and administrative affairs Ahmed Al Nuaimi presented the awards to the team on behalf of His Majesty, in the presence of a number of BFA board members, BFA media committee head Ali Basha, and BFA acting secretary general Hassan Ismail.
His Majesty had received the Olympic team at Safriya Palace on Wednesday. The King delivered an inspirational speech, congratulating the team on their success and encouraging them to work hard for an even brighter future.
Al Nuaimi pointed out that the Royal gifts illustrate the unlimited support and care given to sport in Bahrain by His Majesty, which he added was the secret to the success of so many of Bahrain's athletes on the regional and international stage.
Al Nuaimi further pointed out that Bahrain football has greatly benefited from the leadership of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who has been an instrumental figure in the rapid development of the game at all levels.
Al Nuaimi also relayed the greetings of BFA president Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, who praised the Olympic team for their outstanding performance in the tournament which made them completely deserving of the coveted crown.
Throughout the GCC under-23 tournament, the nationals were undoubtedly the best team on the pitch. They played four matches and won all of them - first beating the UAE 1-0 and then Kuwait 3-2 in the preliminary round; and then advancing past Oman 2-0 in the semi-finals before capping their championship run with their victory over last year's winners Saudi Arabia in the final.
The result earned Bahrain their first-ever title in the history of the prestigious competition. It also helped them make up for their loss to Saudi in the 2012 edition held in Doha.