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Jordan gears up to resume Basketball’s World Cup qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Jun 19,2022 - Last updated at Jun 19,2022

AMMAN — Jordan’s national basketball team starts a final training camp in Egypt this week as they gear up for Window 3 of Asian qualifiers for Basketball’s World Cup.

The team is expected to play Uganda, Rwanda and Egypt during friendlies in Cairo before leaving to Beirut and Jakarta to face their national teams on July 1 and 4.

The squad just completed a local camp in Irbid, and played three friendlies in which they lost a match to Kuwait and twice to Iraq. Coach Wisam Al Sous, a star of the 2010 World Cup qualifying squad, hopes the lineup will be complete ahead of the matches.

Jordan will be powered up by three pros: Zeid Abbas, naturalised pro Dar Tucker, and the towering Ahmad Dweiri, who led Fenerbahce Club to the Turkish League crown this week.

The team’s Egypt camp aims to put finishing touches on the strategy and game readiness. 

“The match against Lebanon is decisive and Indonesia will be no easy prey, as the team is different than the one we beat in the last match,” Sous noted.

As national sides play home and away games across three windows in Round 1, Jordan now lead Group C after it won 68-61 and lost 72-64 against Saudi Arabia in Window 1. In Window 2, Jordan beat Lebanon 74-63 and Indonesia 94-64.

Sous underlined the last win over Lebanon by 11 points was the first such score in over a decade and managed to stop Lebanon 19 match winning streak. “That was no easy feat,” he said. 

Twelve teams will advance to Round 2, which will also have three windows running up to February 2023. The next edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will take place from August 25 to September 10 with 7 nations from Asia and Oceania qualifying for the 32-country field. As event hosts, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines automatically qualify. Asia was last on the World Cup podium back in 1954 when the Philippines placed third.

Jordan previously reached the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2010 and 2019, becoming the first and only Jordanian team to actually reach a World Cup in a team sport alongside the junior men’s team in 1995.

The tournament will serve as a qualifier for the 2024 Summer Olympics, where the top two teams from each of the Americas and Europe, and the top team from each of Africa, Asia and Oceania, will qualify alongside the tournament’s host France.

The local basketball season ended with Wihdat crowned champs while national teams brought back the second most popular sport to the forefront as the men’s team advanced to the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 while fans filled the Prince Hamzah Arena to capacity in November when Jordan hosted the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2021 (Division B) and finished second. Now, Jordan will host the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship June 24-30.

Meanwhile, the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 will be played in Jakarta, Indonesia, this year after it was rescheduled to July 12-24, right after the window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Asia qualifiers. 

The draw for the 30th FIBA Asia Cup 2021 placed Jordan in Group A alongside Indonesia, titleholders Australia and Saudi Arabia with the top team in each group moving to the quarters. 

Group B includes China, South Korea, Chinese Taipei and Bahrain, Group C includes Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan and Syria while Group D includes New Zealand , the Philippines, Lebanon and India.

“We will go match by match and aim to give it our best and advance in the Asia Cup,” Sous noted.

Jordan moved to the FIBA Asia Cup after an unbeaten run in qualifiers hosted in Amman. The team was then led by former national team star Marwan Ma’touq as head coach and the squad qualified alongside Kazakhstan from Group F to be one of 16 teams in the upcoming tournament.

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