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Jordan hosts Syria in FIBA Asian qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 26,2018 - Last updated at Feb 26,2018

AMMAN — Jordan hosts Syria on Monday as India hosts Lebanon in their fourth Asian Group C qualifiers for the FIBA Basketball 2019 World Cup.

Jordan tops Group C after they beat India 102-88, as Lebanon beat Syria 87-63. Earlier, Jordan beat Lebanon 87-83 and Syria 109-72. Lebanon is second after they beat India 107-72 and Syria beat India 74-57.

Currently, New Zealand top Group A, Australia Group B and Qatar top Group C. Out of 16 competing teams 12 teams (the top three teams from each group) will move to the second round following which seven teams (the top three teams from each group and the best 4th ) in addition to host China will move to the World Cup set for August 31, 2019 which will include 32 teams.

Fans are elated at the team’s current results especially that the Jordanian squad is striving to get into competitive form after discord among the governing body of the game ended with the resignation of the Jordan Basketball Federation Board. A transitional care-taking body of former players and marketing experts has taken over until a new board is elected within the coming year.

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 Jordan was the only Jordanian team to actually reach a World Championship in a team sport in 2010 alongside the Junior team in 1995.

Fans pin their hopes that the qualifying group will provide Jordan the chance to move to the FIBA Basketball World Cup finals. Last year, Jordan took third place in the West Asian Basketball Association (WABA) as Lebanon were crowned champs. The top four qualifiers then played at the 29th FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon where Jordan finished at a disappointing 8th place as Australia won the title, Iran came second and South Korea third.

Apart from the 2010 milestone, Jordan’s basketball team won the West Asia title in 2002 and repeated it in 2014, when Jordan managed to win the WABA title for the second time in the absence of both the Lebanese and senior Iranian teams.

In WABA 2010, Jordan finished second behind Iran and qualified to the 26th FIBA Asia Championship where, for the first time in the country’s history, Jordan reached the final but lost the chance qualify to the 2012 Olympic Games after losing the final 70-69 to China. Jordan then played at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men but lost to Puerto Rico and Greece and was eliminated.

As of 2017, the Asia Championships and the FIBA Oceania Championship merged into a one tournament to be known as the FIBA Asia Cup. It will now be held every four-years like the EuroBasket, AfroBasket and Americas Championship. The tournament will determine the composition of the joint FIBA Asia and FIBA Oceania qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

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