The Bahrain Football Association’s signing of English coach Peter Taylor has so far proved a masterstroke, prompting a run of excellent results that have seen the national side rocket up the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Indeed, victory in the Arab Games in December helped ensure that Bahrain rose six places to 95th on the global ladder, thus making them the 11th highest-positioned team in Asia. This upward progression was particularly welcome after the team had sunk from 93rd at the start of 2011 to a low of 102nd in June, September and November.
However, that is not to say things could not be better. Bahrain are still a long way off their record high Ranking of 44, which they attained back in September 2004, but the encouraging start to Taylor’s reign holds out the promise of a rosy future.
At the 12th edition of the Arab Games, held in Qatar, Bahrain’s performances were strong throughout. They opened their account with a 2-2 draw against hosts and Group A rivals Qatar, before going on to beat Iraq 3-0 in their second outing. Once in the semi-finals, a 3-1 victory over Palestine took them into the final against Jordan, when Ismail Abdullatif’s last-gasp goal settled a closely-fought contest and clinched the title for Bahrain.
“I’ve got truly wonderful memories of our unforgettable campaign,” reflected Taylor. “We got the gold and we’ve put Bahrain back on the map. I’m also delighted with the players, who really enjoyed the tournament and put in some excellent performances, especially in the final, which we won with a goal two minutes before the final whistle. That goal made victory even sweeter.”
When quizzed asked about Bahrain’s rise on the Ranking, Taylor appeared pleasantly surprised. “I had no idea about that, to be honest,” he said with a smile. “It’s great news. I’m just happy that our results have had a positive impact on the country’s Ranking.”
Onwards and upwards
It is clear that Taylor, who has previously coached English sides including Leicester City, Hull City and Crystal Palace, has big ambitions for his new charges. With Bahrain’s football administration also making weighty plans for the future of the game in their country, maintaining this excellent run of form is certainly important.
Though Bahrain’s qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ has been less than impressive, Taylor insisted that bringing youngsters into the squad and continuing the process of building a solid side for the future must take priority.
“Most of the players in the side are youngsters,” he said. “But given time and plenty of games their standard will improve and they’ll get the experience they need.
"If we get knocked out of the World Cup qualifiers early it will be disappointing, but we have to keep our focus. The Gulf Cup is coming up next year and there are a lot of training camps and friendlies to get through if we want the side to keep evolving and getting stronger.”
And though Taylor is thinking first and foremost about building a side to compete with the best in Asia in the near future, he would certainly not be averse to seeing Bahrain a few places higher on next month’s FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
Calculation of points for a single match
P = M x I x T x C
M: points for Match result
Teams gain 3 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a defeat. In a penalty shoot-out, the winning team gains 2 points and the losing team gains 1 point.
I: Importance of match
Friendly match (including small competitions): I = 1.0
FIFA World Cup™ qualifier or confederation-level qualifier: I = 2.5
Confederation-level final competition or FIFA Confederations Cup: I = 3.0
FIFA World Cup™ final competition: I = 4.0
T: strength of opposing Team
The strength of the opponents is based on the formula: 200 – the ranking position of the opponents.As an exception to this formula, the team at the top of the ranking is always assigned the value 200 and the teams ranked 150th and below are assigned a minimum value of 50. The ranking position is taken from the opponents’ ranking in the most recently published FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
C: strength of Confederation
When calculating matches between teams from different confederations, the mean value of the confederations to which the two competing teams belong is used. The strength of a confederation is calculated on the basis of the number of victories by that confederation at the last three FIFA World Cup™ competitions (see following page). Their values are as follows:
|Points Last Month|
|Points outside Ranking calculation|