Watching the World Cup making you want to play. We check out how budding footballer will fare this summer
Time Out Bahrain staff
It’s the biggest sporting event in the world, and whether you love it, hate or are entirely indifferent, the World Cup will be unavoidable for the next month and a half. But while bars will be packed, and couches will be crammed with fans closely following the beautiful game, the tournament is also likely to spark renewed interest among potential players. We check out where, in the heat of the summer, you can get your kicks.
Bahrain Rugby and Football Club As sporting and social clubs go, the Bahrain Rugby and Football Club is hard to beat. Located in Saar, near Saar Cinema and just past Miami Park, the clubs is as well known for its legendary social events as it is for the clubs sporting activities. With a couple of grass pitches, the club is one of the centres of Bahrain’s football elite, and is host to two of the best local league teams made up from the enthusiastic members. The teams play at least once a week, while there are numerous children’s training sessions that run throughout the week. Although things calm down for a bit during the summer months (the season kicks off again after Ramadam), the club remains open and the pitches remain available for use. For more information, call 17 695 809
Dilmun Club Founded in 1974, the Dilmun Club is one of the longest serving social and sports clubs in the Kingdom, and boasts a membership of over 3,000 (mostly families), from over 60 countries. Cherry on the top of the club’s wide ranging facilities is a floodlit five-a-side Astroturf pitch, that attracts a number of football fans. Thanks to the fact it is lit at night, the club is likely to be a saviour for die-hard fans in the summer months when, during daylight hours, the heat prevents play. For more information, call 17 692 986
EZ Fit Sportsplex Although the pitch is pretty cramped and is not suitable for anything more than five-a-side, the fact that it’s indoor, and therefore temperature controlled, will be a saving grace to all of those who don’t fancy a twenty-minute game ending in heat exhaustion and sun burn this summer. Has a great coach, too. For more information, call 17 692 378
For the kids
Think you’ve got the next Beckham knocking a ball around the garden? The Arsenal Soccer School, an affiliate of the Premier League side based in London, offers the best training for children of all abilities from a range of top-notch coaches. Although the summer term comes to a close at the end of June, the application process will be open for those wishing to join the school after Ramadam in September. For more information, visit www.arsenalschoolbahrain.com
The coach approach
We catch up with the former professional Moroccan footballer, now Bahrain-based coach Adil Glia to get a brief insider guide to footie in Bahrain.
Is Bahrain a good place to play football? What are the facilities like? What are the challenges for a player? Playing football in Bahrain is a great experience. Although the number of proper stadiums is limited we are starting to see growth and in the past two years they have been building a lot of synthetic pitches in some of the villages where there is a lot of talent. That said, there is not yet a culture of leadership in the football community telling young players how to eat right, sleep right and protect their health, so often by the time they reach the age of 16 they have established bad habits that don’t help in their careers. There is a lot of talent in the country that needs to be nurtured from a young age. Although improvements are starting to happen there is room for further education in this area.
One big problem for players over the summer is the heat. Is much football played over the summer months? Yes, there are a limited number of indoor pitches including the academy I work at (EZ Fit Sportsplex), and I run a number of soccer schools, holiday camps and tournaments outside of the season in the summer.
Football is considered Bahrain’s national sport. Do you see participation growing or declining? Having come so close, not getting into the World Cup finals was a big disappointment for Bahrain. But people still love the game. Greater publicity for the local games would improve the number of supporters that follow their teams and this would help the sport to develop even further to see Bahrain in the World Cup in 2014. Adil, the head football coach at EZ Sportsplex, runs a number of training camps for footballers, as well as one-on-one coaching in Arabic, French and English. For more information, call him on 36 682 135.