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Jordan U-23 team to host Iraq

By Aline Bannayan - Aug 18,2016 - Last updated at Aug 18,2016

AMMAN — Jordan’s U-23 football team is readying to host its Iraqi counterpart in two matches this week as part of preparations for the Asian qualifiers for the third edition of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship which will be held in 2018.

Jordan will play Iraq on August 21 and 25 and is set to take on Lebanon on September 21 as they begin a series of training camps and friendlies ahead of the qualifiers that will be held next summer and will group 42 nations divided into 10 groups with 16 making it to the finals.

Earlier this year, the Kingdom was eliminated from the quarter-finals of the last U-23 championship held in Qatar. Jordan failed to make it to the top four and a possible Olympic slot with the continents top three advancing to the Olympic Games football tournament currently under way in Rio de Janeiro.

In the inaugural AFC U-22 Championship in 2014 (now renamed the AFC U-23 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 Championship and in 2014 the line-up represented Jordan at the Asian Games where they made to the quarterfinals.

On the other hand, the women’s national team has also regrouped to start preparations for qualifiers starting in April 2017 for 2018 AFC Women’s Championship.

The team, which went up a spot to 54th in the latest FIFA rankings, is now training twice a week for now as the coaching staff is busy with the final phase of preparations for the U-17 Women’s World Cup kicking off September 30.

The women’s U-19 national team also has Asian Group A qualifiers for the 2017 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship. The draw put Jordan alongside Australia, Singapore and Lebanon and the Northern Mariana Islands. The top team from each group in the qualifiers set for October 29 moves to the final championship in 2017.

Jordan was also drawn in Group A in the U-16 qualifiers set for August 27 where they will play alongside Thailand, Myanmar, Guam, Laos and Pakistan with the top team advancing to the championship.

For the past decade, Jordan’s teams have been competing in all age divisions in the Asian zone. In 2014, the team was eliminated from Group A qualifiers for the 2015 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship after qualifying as the only Arab team in 2007. The U-16 girls team also failed to qualify to the 2015 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship after qualifying in 2013. In 2015, the women’s national team also exited the 2015 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a winless record.


In men’s competitions, the U-16 boys, and U-19 youth were eliminated from their respective latest Asian qualifiers. The Kingdom had earlier qualified to the AFC U-19 Championship four times. In 2006, the team scored the country’s biggest sporting success when they qualified to the 2007 FIFA Youth World Cup after reaching the semis and eventually finishing fourth at the Asian U-19 Championship. They exited the group stages in 2008 and 2010 and reached the quarters in 2012. Jordan failed to qualify in 2014 when they exited Group B qualifiers in Amman.

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