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Jordan football teams prepare for Asian qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Oct 28,2019 - Last updated at Oct 28,2019

AMMAN — The U-19 national team left to Doha, Qatar on Monday for a final training camp ahead of Group E Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifiers kicking off November 6 alongside Bhutan, Bangladesh and hosts Bahrain.

The qualifiers include 46 teams playing in 11 groups. The top team from each group and top four second placed teams will advance to the championship. 

Jordan’s coaching staff and squad seem upbeat after they played Iraq, Uzbekistan and Algeria in friendlies and held a training camp in Turkey. They also finished third in the West Asian Championship in Palestine. 

“We know the task ahead is not easy, but our aim will be to continue the positive results Jordan had in U-19 events,” coach Bilal Lahham told the media after their last practice in Amman.

Jordan reached the championship five times with the best performance when they finished fourth in 2006 and advanced to the FIFA Youth World Cup in Canada in 2007. They exited the first round in 2008 and 2010 and 2018 and reached the quarters in 2012. Jordan failed to qualify to the championships in 2014 and 2016.

Meanwhile, the U-23 Olympic team is readying for a friendly tourney in Dubai starting November 13 where Syria, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, South Korea, Iraq, Saudi and the UAE will compete. Jordan earlier played friendlies against Syria and Qatar as the team prepares for the 4th AFC U-23 Championship which acts as a qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Jordan topped Group E qualifiers to advance to the championship that will be played January 8-26 in Thailand.

In 2018, the U-23 men’s team was knocked out of Round 1 of the 3rd AFC U-23 Championship. In 2016 they reached the quarter-finals and in 2014 they finished third. 

In U-16 events, Jordan missed the chance qualify to the U-16 AFC Championship when they finished second in Group A qualifiers in which Jordan scored easy wins over lowly Sri Lanka and Nepal in the opening two matches, but then were held 1-1 with Kuwait before losing 5-2 to Tajikistan as the latter qualified from Group A.

Playing in two zones, 47 teams competed in 11 groups with the top team from each group and top four second placed teams advancing to the championship. They are Tajikistan, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, China, Australia and North Korea, Japan and South Korea. Uzbekistan, Oman, Yemen, Indonesia advanced from the best second placed teams

Held once every two years, the competition serves as a qualifier for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with the top 4 countries qualifying. Last year, Jordan bowed out of the Round 1 of the 2018 AFC U-16 Men’s Championship. 

The U-16 women’s squad was eliminated from Round 1, Group A qualifiers for the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship. The women’s U-19 team was also eliminated from Round 1 qualifiers for the AFC Championship. 

Meanwhile, the men’s national team stayed 98th in latest FIFA Rankings and is now readying to face Australia on November 14 and Taiwan on November 19 in Group B qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup. So far, Jordan beat Taiwan 2-1 , held Kuwait 0-0 and beat Nepal 3-0.

Earlier this year, Jordan was eliminated in the Round of 16 at the Asian Cup 2019 as Qatar won the title for the first time.

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