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Football team regroups for World Cup qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Mar 12,2024 - Last updated at Mar 12,2024

Yazan Al Naimat celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup semifinal football match between Jordan and South Korea (AFP photo)

AMMAN  —  Jordan’s national has regrouped following the end of the Pro League’s week 14 as they prepare to resume Group G qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup in which Jordan will play Pakistan in two consecutive home and away matches in the next two weeks.

Moroccan coach Hussein Amouta returned after a short trip back home and announced the lineup which includes four new players who were impressive with their clubs in the league competition now underway. 

Fans anxiously await to see team stars Mousa Ta’mari, Yazan Nue’imat, Yazan Al Arab, Ehsan Haddad, Ali Alwan, Yazeed Abu Laila and teammates who made history for the Kingdom after Jordan reached the final of the 2023 Asian Cup last month after an impressive run before eventually losing 3-1 to hosts and reigning champs Qatar in a match marred with officiating mistakes including three questionable penalties.

The World Cup qualifiers kicked off in November 2023 with Jordan off to a slow start holding Tajikistan 1-1 and losing 2-0 to Saudi Arabia.

However, team morale and fan expectations have shifted after Jordan has shot up 17 spots to 70th in the latest FIFA rankings after the squad reached played the Asian Cup for the 5th time  with their previous best past performance reaching the quarterfinals in 2004 and 2011.

Not even the most optimistic of fans would have thought the Kingdom’s team would reach the Asian Cup final. But the leadership and tactics of coach Amouta in steering Jordan through to the advanced position combined with the concerted effort of Jordan’s top stars enabled the squad to write football history for Jordan.

On its way to the final, Jordan lost 1-0 to Bahrain, tied  Korea 2-2, and scored a 4-0 win over Malaysia before beating 2007 champs Iraq 3-2 in the injury time of Round of 16. The turning point came when they beat Tajikistan 1-0 in the quarterfinals, to make it to the semis where they ousted two-time Asian champs Korea 2-0.

As the team returned home, fans held their breath as Amouta, seemed to allude to the fact that his plans with the team were still not finalized. However, recent reports recently said he will continue his contract and with FIFA making way for 16 more teams in the upcoming 2026 edition of the World Cup Amouta has the chance to take Jordan to the World Cup for the first time.

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