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Jordan’s U-23 football team plays Kuwait in qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Mar 21,2019 - Last updated at Mar 21,2019

AMMAN — Jordan’s U-23 men’s national team plays Kuwait on Saturday in its first match at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship qualifiers.

The Kingdom will also face Syria and Kyrgyzstan in Group E of the qualifiers with the group winner and five top second placed teams advancing to the 4th AFC U-23 Championship, which act as a qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

In friendly matches during training camps, Jordan held Bahrain 0-0, Qatar 1-1 and Iran 0-0, while losing to Oman twice 2-1, and beating Palestine 3-2 before losing 2-1.

Head coach Ahmad Abdul Qader seemed apprehensive of the team’s preparations as club competitions and national team agendas hampered the team’s regrouping and better training. Abdul Qader, however, was quoted by the media as having confidence of completing the task and focusing on the next stage. 

“At this point, we will give it our all to qualify. We have set a plan to best prepare the team for the Asian finals once we advance,” he said.

In 2018, the U-23 men’s team was knocked out of Round 1 of the 3rd Asian Football Confederation U-23 Championship. In 2016, Jordan reached the quarter-finals and in 2014 Jordan finished third.

This year, the men’s national team was eliminated in the Round of 16 at the Asian Cup 2019, as Qatar won the title for the first time. The women’s national football team won the 6th West Asian Championship. Jordan is now five time West Asian champs while the UAE won the title twice.

Last year, the women’s senior football team became the only national team to advance in Asian qualifiers after they qualified to Round 2 topping Round 1, Group D qualifiers. The tournament acts as a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

In U-19 events, the women’s team was eliminated from Round 1 qualifiers for the AFC U-19 Championship. Likewise, the men’s U-19 national team was eliminated from Round 1 of the AFC U-19 Championship as the semifinalists advanced to the FIFA U-19 World Cup.

Jordan was hoping to advance in the Asian event after it failed to qualify to the Championships in 2014 and 2016. It was the fifth time for Jordan at the championship with the best showing when they finished fourth in 2006 and advanced to the FIFA Youth World Cup in Canada in 2007. They exited the first round in 2008 and 2010 and reached the quarters in 2012. 

In U-16 events, Jordan bowed out of the Round 1 of the 2018 AFC U-16 Men’s Championship. Held once every two years, the competition serves as a qualifier for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with the top four countries qualifying. The U-16 women’s squad was also eliminated from Round 1, Group A qualifiers for the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship. 

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