Sharida: Bahrain are in good shape

Bahrain coach Salman Sharida is keen to remain in charge despite the team's failure to make the AFC Asian Cup quarter-finals, saying that the team showed promise and that he needs time to develop their potential.

The former international, who previously coached Pakistan, only took over from Josef Hickersberger when the Austrian quit just months ahead of the tournament. "It's a big honour for me to remain as the coach of Bahrain in such a delicate situation of Bahraini football," Sharida said after his team lost their must-win Group C game against Australia late on Tuesday.

"The work that we did was good as we fixed some problems off and on the pitch and I'm happy with what I have done. Australia and South Korea are strong teams and they are in a good position in Asian football. We have had some difficult situations in the team but the players showed a good performance in the matches that we had."

We were well organised and managed to reach their penalty area but we lost many chances... The Bahrain team is in good shape.
Salman Sharida, Bahrain coach

Bahrain, at their third consecutive Asian Cup, head home after losing 2-1 to the Koreans, 1-0 to Australia and beating minnows India 5-2. Given that Australia and Korea Republic both featured at the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa and are seen as potential champions in Doha, Bahrain were always the underdogs.

Nevertheless, they put up a decent fight against both teams, which was heartening for Sharida. "We did our best. This match against Australia was a better performance than our last two matches," he said. "We were well organised and managed to reach their penalty area but we lost many chances. We needed to win but we were playing an experienced team. The Bahrain team is in good shape."

One of the plus points for Bahrain was the manner in which forward Ismaeel Abdullatif reinforced his reputation, scoring four goals against India and forcing several fine saves from Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer on Tuesday. However, a disappointed Abdullatif said the goals meant little with his side out of contention.

"We had as many attacks as Australia but whoever scores the goals wins and qualifies. I felt that we played better but we just couldn't score," he said. "I was happy to score the goals in the last game and before the Australia game, I was hoping that I could score another so that I could become the leading scorer in the AFC Asian Cup.

"But the first priority was that we wanted to win together as a team. I tried and the team tried but it didn't work out for us."