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Jordan football heads into long break

By Aline Bannayan - Nov 23,2022 - Last updated at Nov 23,2022

AMMAN — The Kingdom’s football competitions will be on a long break as the local season has wrapped up and no competitions are scheduled until the national team plays at 10th West Asian Championship set for March 2023.

Jordan hosted the Spanish national team last weekend as the 2010 World Cup champions were on their way to Qatar for the World Cup. Spain won the match 3-1.

After an early exit from the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the focus of Jordan’s head coach Adnan Hamad is on improving the team’s competitive form, its ranking on the world scene and reaching beyond the quarters of the 2023 Asian Cup, which will be held in Qatar.

Jordan has now qualified five times since first taking part in qualifiers in 1972. The highlight was at the 13th Asian Cup in 2004, when it lost to Japan in the quarterfinals and jumped to the best ever FIFA Ranking of 37th. Jordan also reached the Asian Cup in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

The Kingdom has had a very slow climb as it’s now at 84th in FIFA Rankings with Hamad trying to engage players from younger national teams to include a mix of young blood and experience in the lineup. Players were recalled from the U-23 team who won the West Asian Championship, but were eliminated from Round 1 at the 5th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship in their fifth time at the event.

Earlier this year, Jordan was one of 9 nations securing qualification to the AFC U-20 Asian Cup which will be held in Uzbekistan in 2023.  Jordan hosted Group A qualifiers for the U17 Asian Cup but failed to advance as Japan clinched the slot from the group which included, Syria, Philippines, and Turkmenistan as 44 nations contested qualifiers in 10 groups with the top team in each group and five second place teams moving to the finals in Bahrain in 2023.

The local 2022 football season has wrapped up with three teams splitting four titles: Wihdat defeated Aqaba in the Jordan Cup final — the last of the events held this year. Since the Cup started in 1980, there have been 40 editions with Faisali record 21-time champions. Wihdat have now won 11 times, Jazira, Ramtha and Shabab Urdun twice each, while Arabi, That Ras and Ahli won once each. In 2020, the Jordan Cup was scrapped from the agenda for the first time since the competition kicked off in 1980.

In the other competitions, Faisali were crowned Jordan Professional League (Pro League) champs, as they also won the 35th Jordan Football Association (JFA) Shield title when they beat Ramtha who in turn upset Faisali to win the 39th Jordan Super Cup. 

The 70th edition of the newly concluded Pro League saw a close-fought contest at both ends of the standings with veteran Jazira, a three-time league champ, relegated alongside Sarih, while Ahli and Jalil were promoted from the first Division. Faisali grabbed the title one point ahead of Wihdat and Hussein who tied in overall points and finished second and third respectively, followed by Shabab Urdun, Aqaba, Ramtha, Ma’an, Salt, Sahab, Mugheer Sarhan, Sarih and Jazira.

Last season, Ramtha won the league title for the third time in their history after playing 39 years without a league title. This year, they finished midway through the standings as another ambitious team, Jazira, will be the notable absentee next season. Their relegation will be the fourth – 1977, 1992, 2003, 2022 after the club was a frontrunner in the past five years and played in the AFC West Asia Zone final in 2018 and 2019.

Since the league kicked off in 1944 with only Faisali, Ahli, Urdun and Homenetmen competing, Faisali are now 35-time record league champs while Wihdat won 17 times since they joined in 1980. Although Faisali are the all-time record titleholders, Wihdat’s record is quite impressive. After four years in the Pro League, they won their first title in 1980 and have gone on to win the majority of titles since then. Ahli won eight times, Ramtha and Jazira three times each, Shabab Urdun twice, Amman and Urdun clubs once each.

 

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