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Jordan U-23 football team leaves for tourney

By Aline Bannayan - Mar 19,2017 - Last updated at Mar 19,2017

AMMAN — Jordan’s U-23 squad left to Dubai on the weekend, for a training camp and eight nation tournament from March 20-28 in the final phase of preparations for qualifiers for the 3rd Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship in 2018.

The tournament in Dubai will see Jordan play alongside Saudi Arabia, China and Malaysia in Group 2 while Group 1 includes the UAE, Thailand, Singapore and North Korea. 

The matches will provide team coaches a good opportunity to assess preparedness ahead of the qualifiers after Jordan was drawn in Group E with Palestine, Tajikistan and Bangladesh. 

The U-23 qualifiers which will be held July 19-23 will include 40 teams playing in 10 groups. The top team from each group, in addition to the top five second-placed teams will move to the championships finals. Titleholders Japan will play alongside championship hosts China in Group J while runner up South Korea got an easy draw in Group I.

The teams include:

Group A: Iran, Oman, Kyrgyzstan and Sri Lanka.

Group B: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Afghanistan.

Group C: Qatar, Syria, India and Turkmenistan.

Group D: UAE, Uzbekistan, Lebanon and Nepal.

Group F: Australia, Myanmar, Singapore, Brunei.

Group G: North Korea, Laos, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Group H: Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mongolia.

Group I: South Korea, Vietnam, Timor-Leste and Macau.

Group J: Japan, China, Cambodia and Philippines.

In 2016, Jordan was eliminated from the quarter-finals of the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship in Qatar. The Kingdom failed to make it to the top four and a possible Olympic slot with the continent’s top three advancing to the Olympic Games football tournament in Rio de Janeiro later won by Brazil. 

In the inaugural AFC U-22 Championship in 2014 (now renamed the AFC U23 Championship), Jordan took third place when they beat South Korea while Iraq won the title after defeating Saudi Arabia.

In 2015, Jordan’s U-23 squad was eliminated from the 1st West Asian U-23 Championship and in 2014 the line-up represented Jordan at the Asian Games where they made to the quarter-finals.

The Kingdom’s younger squads are also training for their respective Asian qualifiers. The U-19 team, which qualified to the Asian Championship four times and previously reached the FIFA Youth World Cup in Canada in 2007, was last eliminated from the qualifying rounds of the 2016 Championship. Jordan finished fourth in 2006, but exited the group stages in 2008 and 2010 and reached the quarters in 2012. Jordan failed to qualify to the 2014 Championship as well.

 

Similarly, the U-16 team is now preparing for their Asian qualifiers. In 2015, the U-16 squad failed to advance to the 2016 AFC U-16 Asian Championship.

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