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Jordan takes on South Korea in AFC U-22 championship opening

By Aline Bannayan - Jan 09,2014 - Last updated at Jan 09,2014

AMMAN — The national U-22 football team takes on South Korea on Saturday in the Group A match kicking off the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-22 Championship in Oman.

Jordan recently concluded a camp in Muscat where the team played two matches, losing 2-1 to China and tying the UAE 1-1.

The team was set to train with a complete line-up as of Thursday with seven players who were on national team duty at the 8th West Asian Championship in Qatar joining the squad while two others were not released by their Saudi clubs.

The Jordan Football Association’s website quoted head coach Islam Diyabat as saying: “We faced a tough time with many players missing the squad. However, we are in high spirits and everyone is working hard to achieve our sole aim. To be competitive in the inaugural Under-22 event.”

Diyabat underlined he had full confidence in the squad. “We are confident, positive and hope our resilience will help us play for an advance position.”

Coach Dayyan Saleh said Jordan needs to spare no effort to compete on the Asian level. “The match against China enabled us to get into the mood of the competition. We amended many gaps and now need to be focused and have a good defence,” he said.

In June 2012, Jordan was the first to qualify to the inaugural AFC U-22 Championship finals after leading Group D qualifiers with an unbeaten run, beating Uzbekistan 3-1, Nepal 3-0, Bangladesh 3-0 and Yemen 4-0.

Jordan will play alongside South Korea, Myanmar and Oman in Group A as the AFC draw put Jordan, Japan, North Korea and Saudi Arabia as heads of the four groups.

Group B will include North Korea, the UAE, Syria and Yemen, Group C will see Japan, Australia, Iran and Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, China and Iraq will compete in Group D.

The second edition in 2015 will qualify teams to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Kingdom reached the AFC U-19 Championship four times. In 2006, the team achieved the country’s biggest football sporting success when it finished fourth at the championship and qualified to the 2007 FIFA Youth World Cup in Canada.

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