The event is a biannual women’s football tournament for youth teams organised by the Asian Football Confederation. It further serves as the qualifying competition for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
In the AFC Championship finals, the Bahrainis will play in Group ‘A’ against tournament hosts China and Australia, who had very different qualifying campaigns.
Bahrain squeezed into the finals after a fourth minute own goal gave them a hard-fought 1-0 win over Palestine to see them advance to September’s finals as runners-up in three-team qualifying Group ‘C’ alongside Jordan, who beat Bahrain 4-0 in their other match.
Conversely, Australia was in emphatic form during their qualifying campaign in Manila where Vicki Linton’s side scored 18 times in three matches on route to topping their group with a 100% record.
Bahrain begin their campaign on September 26 against China at Jiangning Sports Centre, in Nanjing. They then face Australia two days later, while the group’s concluding game is scheduled for September 30 when China take on Australia.
The tournament concludes on October 6 with the top three sides at the fifth edition of the AFC Under-16 Women’s Championship representing Asia at the 2014 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup schedule to take place in Costa Rica next April.
Bahrain, meanwhile, have finalized their preparations before flying to Nanjing. Their most recent training was witnessed by Bahrain Olympic Committee member and women’s committee chairwoman Shaikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa.
Shaikha Hayat highlighted the Bahraini team’s performance in the qualifying campaign, stressing the fact that reaching the AFC Championship finals is in itself a significant achievement for the Bahraini team.
Shaikh Hayat expressed pleasure for the high spirits of the players and her confidence in the team putting up a good show in this major continental competition, which she described as a great challenge for the Bahraini girls and a new experience for many of them representing Bahrain for the first time.
She noted the tremendous efforts of the Bahrain Football Association, led by president Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, in supporting all women’s football teams which achieved outstanding results in recent years on various levels.