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U-16 women nearly out of Asian qualifiers, men hopeful

By Aline Bannayan - Sep 22,2018 - Last updated at Sep 22,2018

AMMAN — The Kingdom’s U-16 women’s football team plays its last Group A match against Guam on Sunday at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-16 Women’s Championship Round 1 qualifiers in currently under way in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Jordan crashed 9-0 to China on Friday and is now third in the group after it held Uzbekistan 0-0 and beat Sri Lanka 7-0. China leads the table ahead of Uzbekistan.

A total of 30 teams are playing in six groups. The top team and best two second placed teams move will move to Round 2 of the qualifying campaign in February 2019, where the teams will play in two groups with the top two from each group advancing to the finals.

Other Arab teams at the qualifiers include Palestine in Group D and Lebanon, the UAE and Bahrain in Group F.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s U-16 men’s team held North Korea 2-2 in the opening match of its Group B 2018 AFC U-16 Championship match on Friday.

The event which will run until October 7 saw Oman beat Yemen 2-0 in another Group B match. In other matches Malaysia beat Tajikistan 6-2, Japan beat Thailand 5-2, Indonesia beat Iran 2-0 and India beat Vietnam 1-0. Jordan will next play Oman on Monday. 

Organised by the AFC, and held once every two years for Asian U-16 teams, the competition also serves as a qualification tournament for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with the top four countries qualifying. Iraq is the reigning champs. 

The U-19 women’s national team is also preparing for the AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers set for October 20-28. A total of 27 teams will play in six groups with Jordan in Group E alongside Malaysia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Vietnam. 

The top team from each group and the top two second placed teams move to the second round set for April 2019, where the teams will play in two groups with the top two from each group advancing to the finals.

In men’s competitions, Jordan was drawn in Group C for the AFC U-19 Championship to play alongside Australia, South Korea and Vietnam. The Championship hosted by Indonesia as of October 17, will see 16 teams playing in four groups with the eventual semifinalists playing in the FIFA U-19 World Cup.

Jordan had failed to qualify to the championships in 2014 and 2016 after earlier qualifying four times and reaching the FIFA Youth World Cup in Canada in 2007. The team finished fourth in 2006, but exited the first round in 2008 and 2010 and reached the quarters in 2012. 

Earlier this year, Jordan’s U-23 team were knocked out of the first round of the 3rd AFC U-23 Championship which acts, as a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

In 2016, Jordan was eliminated from the quarter-finals of the AFC U-23 Championship and missed the Rio Olympics. In the inaugural AFC U-22 Championship in 2014, Jordan took third place when it beat South Korea while Iraq won the title after defeating Saudi Arabia.

In women’s Asian competitions, this year saw Jordan becomes the first country in the West Asia zone to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup which is held every four years. The continent’s top eight teams played the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

In 2016, Jordan hosted the U-17 FIFA World Cup, the first of its kind to take place in the Middle East from which the top five advanced to the Women’s World Cup 2019 in France.

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