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Jordan takes on China in FIBA Asian qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Sep 16,2018 - Last updated at Sep 16,2018

AMMAN — Jordan has a tough basketball match against China on Monday, in its third match in Round 2 Asian Group E qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Jordan lost 86-75 to South Korea in a closely contested match in Amman before leaving for China. Group leaders New Zealand beat Syria 107-66 and Lebanon beat China’s second tear team 92-88 as the latter’s national team won the gold medal at the recently concluded Asian Games.

Observers pointed out that the team was not cohesive and star Mousa Awadi, who suffered an injury, played for a limited time, and yet made up for the below par performance of the team, which only regrouped to camp in Turkey ahead of facing Asian Games bronze medallist South Korea in front of a packed Prince Hamzah Arena. However, much needed at this point winning against China will be tough. Jordan is fourth behind New Zealand, Lebanon and Korea. China are fifth and Syria sixth in Group E standings.

Australia leads Group F followed by Iran, the Philippines, Japan, Kazakhstan and Qatar.

In Round 1, Jordan topped Group C after they beat India 102-88, Lebanon 87-83 and Syria 109-72.

Out of 16 competing teams in Round 1, 12 teams (the top three teams from each group) moved to the second round following seven teams (the top three teams from each group and the best 4th) in addition to host China. They will move to the World Cup set for August 31, 2019 that will include 32 teams.

Fans and clubs are hopeful the Jordanian squad will advance as it strives to get into competitive form after discord among the governing body of the game ended with the resignation of the Jordan Basketball Federation Board last year. A transitional care-taking body of former players and marketing experts has taken over until a new board is elected.

Support for Jordan’s second most popular sport is seen as below par by most observers, leading to a decline locally and less competitive advantage on the regional scene although the basketball squad was the only Jordanian team to actually reach a World Championship in a team sport back in 2010 alongside the junior team in 1995.

Fans pinned their hopes that the qualifying group will provide Jordan the chance to move to the FIBA Basketball World Cup finals.

In 2017, Jordan took third place in the West Asian Basketball Association (WABA) as Lebanon was a crowned champ. 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 the Lebanese and Iranian senior 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 to qualify to the 2012 Olympic Games after losing the final 70-69 to China. Jordan then played at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for Men but lost to Puerto Rico and Greece and was eliminated. The OQT gave Asia’s second and third teams a chance to qualify to the London Olympic Games. 

As of 2017, the Asia Championships and the FIBA Oceania Championship merged into the FIBA Asia Cup. It will determine the composition of the joint FIBA Asia and FIBA Oceania qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. 

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