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Eight teams are vying for victory in the Bahrain Amateur Football League that was formed to promote competitive play across the kingdom.
The league, which kicked off last week, was founded by British School of Bahrain physics teacher, Colin Kerr, with the aim of creating a football platform that everyone to enjoy.
“Its aim is to promote, foster and develop, throughout its membership, without discrimination against any organisation or person for reason of race, religion or politics, the game of football,” said the 35-year-old Scot living in Al Qurrayah.
“I want to have a platform for the game of football to thrive and be accessible for all.”
Kerr, who taught in Dundee and Monifieth in Scotland for 10 years before moving to Bahrain in 2019 to take up a post as a physics and science teacher, is no stranger to bringing sports and people together.
He started an amateur football team in 2014 in Scotland playing in the Dundee Saturday Morning Football League.
“I had no intention of starting a team in Bahrain but due to meeting a group of like-minded people who were keen to be part of a team, I decided to start Hamala Hurricanes,” he explained.
The league operates the same as all FIFA-affiliated leagues with three points for a win and one for a draw. There are no fixed days for games but game weeks.
The fixtures are generated using the Bahrain Amateur League website. The teams are made up of mostly adults, although under 18s can play with parental consent with waivers signed by parents or guardians.
Now 190 amateur footballers are currently registered to teams and Kerr hopes the interest will continue to grow.
“The dream is for the league to be recognised and to grow with more teams being involved over the coming years in order to have different divisions,” added the assistant head of Year 7.
“It is my understanding that once young people turn 16 or 17, there is no platform for them to play competitive football in Bahrain.
“Our league will offer them this opportunity. Competitive football offers so much more than friendlies, with trophies and accolades up for grabs. It makes the games worth something.”
The season will consist of each team playing each other twice as well as a cup competition which will consist of two groups of four.
Teams will play each other once with the top two from each group entering the semi-finals. This should see all competitions completed by May.
So far, the sides have played one league game each. The British Club lost to Muharraq Youth 2-1, Black Castle Academy defeated Juventus Academy U23 1-0, Janabiyah Juggernauts conquered Pompey FC 6-0 and the Bahrain Rugby Football Club drew with Hamala Hurricanes 6-6.
These results put Janabiyah Juggernauts, the league favourites, at the top of the table.
Health precautionary measures are taken before each game. Temperatures are recorded at all venues and any player who has been in close contact with Covid-19 cases are not allowed to participate.
According to Kerr, there have been no virus cases associated with the network of friendlies and league games that have been played to date.
Kerr added: “We’re also hoping to have an end-of-the-season awards evening where we can celebrate the league and cup winners, as well as the league’s top goal scorer and league player of the year. Money raised through this event will be donated to charity.”
Those interested in joining the league for next season, which is likely to be in September 2021, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
People can also keep up to date with league action by following @BahrainAFL on Facebook