Manama: Final preparations for the opening ceremony of the 21st Gulf Cup took place here last night as French firm Seiten Event look to start the biennial competition with a bang.
The company held final rehearsals at the National Stadium in Riffa, which will host the opening ceremony and first match — Bahrain against Oman — tomorrow. Seiten Event have made several visits to the venue in order to finalise the programme and take a close look at the facilities.
Executive secretary of the Gulf Cup’s organising committee, Mariam Yousuf, said: “Seiten Event started its preparations for this prestigious event a while ago, when their officials were in Bahrain to make all initial arrangements to get high-tech equipment shipped, which will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies.”
Yousuf said she was pleased with the smoothness of the rehearsal and described it as unique and amazing. “The opening ceremony will be a blend of many different themes and cultural songs that will definitely lead to success and a very memorable occasion,” she said.
She also revealed that the opening ceremony programme will be short but expressive as it contains themes and artistic cultural shows performed through Bahraini and other GCC dances.
Yousuf noted that famous singers from Bahrain will be participating at the ceremony, including Nizar Abdullah, Ahmad Al Hermi and Fatima Al Zayani.
Meanwhile Executive Committee Chairman Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa headed for Saudi Arabia where he presented an invitation to Governor of the Makkah Province Prince Khalid Al Faisal to attend Saturday’s ceremony.
Prince Khalid welcomed Shaikh Salman and thanked him for the generous gesture, commending the great efforts of Bahrain and the backing of its leadership to organise this event.
He expressed confidence in Bahrain’s ability to provide all that is needed to make the prestigious tournament a special occasion, affirming all GCC countries’ support and co-operation with Bahrain for the continuity of the tournament.
On his part, Shaikh Salman noted the key role of Prince Khalid in supporting the previous editions of the Gulf Cup since it was founded in 1970, adding that Prince Khalid was one of the important characters who had contributed to make this dream come true.
Ahmad Al Wahishi, meanwhile, was excluded from the referees’ team to run the tournament after he was injured during physical tests held at Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town.
The Referees Committee of the 21st Gulf Cup, presided by Baleid Larkan of Algeria, addressed the Yemen Football Association to choose another referee to replace Al Wahishi.