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Jordan hopes to win first match at FIBA World Cup

By Aline Bannayan - Sep 08,2019 - Last updated at Sep 08,2019

AMMAN — Jordan plays Senegal on Monday, hoping for its sole win as it concludes the FIBA World Cup 2019 journey — the world’s premier basketball competition currently under way in China.

Jordan lost the chance to win in Round 1 losing a lead in the final minutes of the match before handing the win to the Dominican Republic 80-76.

They had tough games and lost against to France 103-64 and then to Germany 96-62 as it ended Group G matches.

In placement matches deciding positions 17-32, Jordan lost to Canada 126-71.

After the Kingdom first played at the FIBA World Cup in 2010, this is the second time at the tournament which acts as a qualifier to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Tunisia is the only other Arab teams among the qualifying teams to the World Cup finals which ends on September 15 and includes 32 teams playing in eight groups with the top two from each group advancing on to Round 2.

Tunisia finished third in their group in Round 1 matches after it beat Iran 79-67, lost to Puerto Rico 67-64 and beat the Philippines 86-67. It beat Angola 86-84 on Sunday.

Jordan’s journey to the World Cup started with Round 1 qualifiers in which it topped Group C after it beat India, Lebanon and Syria. In Round 2 qualifiers, Jordan beat expectations and finished third in Group E behind New Zealand and South Korea as China came in fourth and edged Lebanon into the group’s best 4th place team to make it to the World Cup finals. 

Observers have pointed out that merely reaching the World Cup and having the chance to play leading teams and star studded line-ups will boost the team’s overall presence internationally and competitive experience.

“Jordan is actually playing in the World Cup, that in itself is an achievement that should not be underestimated. Fans or onlookers should not expect the team to beat France or Germany who have players in the NBA,” said a basketball official who requested anonymity. “We are among the top 32 countries playing the game, and that should be an accomplishment to build on and strive for the better in the future,” he added.

Former coaches and players noted that although the Jordan Basketball Federation tried hard to prepare the team and regroup the players, the team’s preparations are not up to par with the needs of competing at the World Cup level.

They mainly attribute that to the haphazard funding efforts which hamper long term planning. Financial support for Jordan’s second most popular game is seen as below par by most observers, leading to a decline in the game locally and less competitive advantage on the regional scene, although the basketball squad was the only Jordanian team to actually reach a World Cup in a team sport in 2010 alongside the junior team in 1995.

At the 2010 World Cup, Jordan played against Serbia, Germany, Argentina, Australia and Angola. The team was resilient but finished winless at 23rd.

At the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, Jordan reached the final for the first time in the country’s history, but lost the chance of qualifying to the 2012 Olympic Games after losing the final 70-69 to China. Jordan then played the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournamen but lost to Puerto Rico and Greece and was eliminated. 

Regionally, Jordan’s basketball team won the West Asia title in 2002 and repeated it in 2014 when Jordan managed to win the West Asian Basketball Association title for the second time in the absence of both the Lebanese and senior Iranian teams.

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