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U-23 football team hosts Libya, prepares for Asian championship

By Aline Bannayan - Dec 21,2017 - Last updated at Dec 21,2017

AMMAN — Jordan’s U-23 football team plays Libya in its second friendly on Saturday which comes amid final preparations for the 3rd Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship in January 2018 as well as the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The team beat its guests 2-1 in the first match on Wednesday and last had a training camp in Bangkok where it played the host team twice in October.

Jordan advanced to the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers in which it finished second behind Palestine from Group E, Oman moved from Group A, Iraq and Saudi from Group B, Qatar and Syria from Group C, Uzbekistan from Group D, Australia form Group F, North Korea from Group G, Malaysia and Thailand from Group H, South Korea and Vietnam from Group I and China and Japan from Group J.

In 2016, Jordan reached the quarter-finals of the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship and failed to make it to the top four and a possible Olympic slot, as the continent’s top three advanced to the Rio Games football tournament. 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.

Jordan’s U-23 squad played the 1st West Asian U-23 Championship in 2015, and in 2014 the line-up represented the Kingdom at the Asian Games where it made to the quarter-finals.

This year, Jordan qualified to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-19 Championship after the topped Group E qualifiers. The continents’ 43 teams were split between East and West Asia into groups of five or four teams with the top team from each group and five second-placed teams advancing to the AFC U-19 Asian Championship.

The UAE moved from Group A, Tajikistan from Group B, Qatar and Iraq from Group C, Saudi Arabia from Group D, South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia from Group F, China from Group G, Vietnam and Taiwan from Group H, Japan and Thailand from Group I, and Australia and North Korea from Group J.

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-16 team also qualified to the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-16 Championship after topping Group A qualifiers. 

Jordan joined group winners Tajikistan (Group B), Iran (Group C), Iraq (Group D), Yemen (Group E), North Korea (Group F), Indonesia (Group G), Australia (Group I), South Korea (Group H), Japan (Group J). Oman, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia moved as second placed top four teams.

 

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 champ. Since the event kicked off in 1995, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia and Oman have each won the title twice. Qatar, Iran, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Iraq won once each. Jordan failed to qualify to the 2016 AFC U-16 Asian Championship.

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