Unusually and surprisingly, the Bahrain players attacked the conference hall, boycotting coach Sousa who seemed to be preparing to answer the journalists’ questions. The players shouted a chant in the name of Portuguese coach Hélio Sousa who succeeded in leading Bahrain to achieve its first title in nearly 50 years since its first participation in the Gulf Cup championships.
After the players left the hall, Sousa said: “It is a great day in the history of Bahraini football that deserved to be celebrated. This day is the culmination of the tremendous work that we started – to create a team that can compete for titles, a work we started about five months ago. We have fighter players in every match. It is a unique moment that deserved to be proud of. We turn our sights to March, where the Asian qualifiers confrontation awaits us.”
He added: “We worked inside an integrated system. So far we have won two championships – in West Asia in Iraq and Gulf Cup 24 in Qatar. The Saudi team that we faced in the final started modestly in its first meetings, but it was elected with high quality in subsequent confrontations. We succeeded today in fighting it because we believed in the capabilities of our players, and we gave them full confidence to present their best. I came from Portugal, here to take on such challenges. We worked to compete for the championships. This vision was not trusted by those around us. We played against a group of the most prominent teams on the continent and achieved two important titles. I think everyone is a believer in this team and the players who made history.”
Regarding what was described as Sousa’s “gambling” by changing the team’s appearance and the participation of new elements in every match as what has happened against Saudi Arabia, Sousa said: “It is not gambling, gambling in the casino (he jokingly says). I believe in all the players, 23 players. Each of them was able to perform as he should, and this is what we have proven. We spent a lot of time building this team. I have players who are no less important than those who are here and the conditions did not help them to participate.”
He concluded: “I congratulate the Bahraini people on this achievement. I congratulate our players on this heroic performance. Our goal is to continue to achieve good results and to find our way in the double qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and Asia 2023.”