Manama: Losing semi-finalists Bahrain and Kuwait may be using their third place playoff at National Stadium from 4.15pm on Friday to rebuild for the future, but neither will concede the fight for a podium finish.
Kuwait lost 1-0 to the UAE in the first semi-final at the National Stadium on Tuesday while Bahrain lost 4-2 on penalties to Iraq after a 1-1 draw in the night’s other knock-out.
While third is little consolation for both sides, who can consider themselves unlucky not to be in the final, pride is still at stake among the managers. Bahrain boss Gabriel Calderon said: “The players are very upset and exhausted after four strong matches and 10 days of football, plus we played almost two hours in the semi-final.
“I’ll make big changes, concentrating on the young players to prepare them for the future. I cant risk players’ health and safety. To win doesn’t mean you have to jeopardise health in the same way that to field players for the future doesn’t mean you will lose.”
Kuwait coach Goran Tufegdzic echoed these thoughts. He said: “I think it’s a good match for young players to get experience. Those who didn’t get the chance to play in the last three matches will get an opportunity tomorrow.
“We lost the semi-final and must accept this and move on in respect for our opponent in the next game. The first point is to find motivation to play for this match because we are still playing for medals. It’s very important to win tomorrow because it’s not the same to finish fourth. It’s an official match but even in friendlies we play to win.”