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FIBA Asia decides to postpone Jordan’s qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 16,2021 - Last updated at Feb 17,2021

AMMAN — Jordan’s national basketball team’s plans were turned upside down, when 10 delegation members contracted COVID-19 and FIBA Asia decided to indefinitely postpone their group qualifiers which were set to tip off on Thursday.

The Jordan Basketball Federation (JBF) had just worked on substituting players with others when they got word of the postponement. The team was on a training camp in Manama, Bahrain, as qualification for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup was set to resume to determine the 16 participants in the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup.

The announcement came through FIBA’s website which noted: “Following the COVID-19 Protocol for FIBA Official National Team and Club Competitions and the advice of its Medical Commission, FIBA has decided to postpone the games of Jordan in the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain, with the health and safety of players, coaches and officials being the primary consideration. 

It added: “The decision was taken after ten members of the Jordan delegation, including seven players, tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving to Manama, despite all delegation members having provided two negative tests prior to their arrival in Bahrain. In this context, the health and safety of all participants within the competition bubble can no longer be guaranteed if the Jordan delegation remains within the competition.”

The national team was set to meet India and Bahrain in friendlies ahead of the resumption of the Asian qualifiers, however, matches were postponed when players tested positive and were isolated. The team’s head coach Marwan Ma’touq was also among those who tested positive.

In Group F, Jordan so far beat Sri Lanka 100-45 and Kazakhstan 71-68. They were scheduled to play Palestine on February 18, Sri Lanka on February 19, and Kazakhstan on February 21 before facing Palestine again on February 22. The status of those games will be decided at a later stage.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FIBA Executive Committee decided in September 2020 that for the November 2020 and 2021 February windows, games in each group will be held at a single venue under a bubble format which was introduced in many sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an environment for the players which is cut off from the outside world, with the main purpose being to minimise and prevent the risk of being contracted with COVID-19 through limiting the contact from outside world.

After the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in November 2019, the qualification process for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup began with the 16 FIBA Asia Cup 2017 teams and best eight teams that played the pre-qualifiers during the previous qualification windows.

A total of 24 teams are playing qualification games for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup. The 24 teams are divided into six groups of four teams. The top two teams from each of the six groups qualify for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup, making a total of 12 teams. The six 3rd place teams from each group qualify to play in a final qualifying tournament and the top four teams from this tournament, will qualify for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup.


Local season


This season, Ahli won the league for a record 24th time while Wihdat relinquished their crown and settled for runner-up. Kufr Youba beat Jubeiha to take third place while 2019 runner-up Orthodoxi did not reach the final four.

Earlier in the season, Ahli also won the Jordan Cup beating Wihdat. Together with Riyadi Ahli have now won the Cup three times, , while Zain (Fastlink) won five times.

The season was played with no import players, due to difficult financial situation and constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wihdat won the league in 2019 for the first time in their history after overcoming Orthodoxi in the final play-offs. The league was played as Jordan’s first player draft was initiated and national team stars were dispersed to play among the clubs to get the zeal of competition back again. Former titleholders Riyadi, champions in 2016 and 2017, as well as Jazira failed to make it to the final four after an inconsistent season. 

Ahli made history in 2018. After disbanding the team for over a decade, the club won the Jordan Cup which they have continued to win for the third year running. 

In the 2015-16 season, Riyadi were crowned league champs when they beat titleholders Orthodoxi. Riyadi had last won the league in 1997 by then Jazira-Aramex team (whose players formed Riyadi’s line-up). Riyadi won the League again in the 2016/17 season.

Orthodoxi, who won their record 23rd league title in the 2014-15 season, won the Jordan Cup in 2016. The Basketball League which started in 1952 has had 60 editions with eight teams crowned champion. It was cancelled in three seasons and discontinued once. Orthodoxi have won 23 times, Ahli 23, Zain (Fastlink) six times, ASU four times, Riyadi and Jazira-Aramex twice each, while, Wihdat, Urdun, Watany and the Electricity Co. won once each.

Former league and cup champs Applied Science University, Ittihad, and Zain have pulled out of the competition.

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