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Jordan regroups under new coach on August 27

By Aline Bannayan - Aug 20,2014 - Last updated at Aug 20,2014

AMMAN — Jordan’s national team is set to regroup on August 27 as the team prepares to play two friendlies under newly named head coach Ahmad Abdul Qader with the countdown on for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.

The coach, who took over after Egyptian Hosam Hassan, sounded upbeat and positive about the task ahead as the squad prepares to leave for a friendly in Uzbekistan.

Abdul Qader said he will announce the final line-up after preliminary round Jordan Cup matches conclude this week alluding to the fact that players like Amer Shafie, who had been left out by his predecessor for disciplinary issues, and other players — the exclusion of which had caused an easy relationship with the Egyptian coach — would likely be recalled. 

Abdul Qader, who had previously served on the national team under the late coach Mohammad Awad, underlined his appreciation to JFA President HRH Prince Ali for entrusting him with the task.

“Regardless of the nature of my appointment currently, me and my team will do our utmost in the upcoming stage. I am always ready to serve the national squad,” he said. “We are happy to be playing our third Asian Cup, but will strive to play for the title.”

The Jordan Football Association (JFA) is looking to arrange matches aimed at giving the line-up optimum competitive experience against leading teams as they prepare for their third participation in the AFC Asian Cup.

Jordan last played Columbia in June, losing 3-0 in an important friendly as the squad kicked off a series of high-level friendlies. They are now set to play Uzbekistan on September 4 before travelling to China for a September 9 match.

Officials at the JFA, incluing Secretary General Fadi Zureikat, expressed confidence in the team which will have four stages of preparations. After the upcoming two friendlies, the team will regroup again on September 29 for a training camp and two more friendlies. Then again on November 11 with a match against South Korea and the fourth time on December 12 with a training camp in Dubai ahead of the January 9, 2015 kick-off in Australia.

The Kingdom qualified to the AFC Asian Cup after finishing second in Group A qualifiers behind leaders Oman. They will play in Group D with 2011 titleholders Japan, Iraq and Palestine.

The qualifiers played in five groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group and the best third-placed team qualified to the tournament. Teams qualifying automatically to the finals include 2011 Asian Cup champions Japan, third-placed South Korea, hosts and runners-up Australia, AFC Challenge Cup 2012 winners North Korea and 2014 AFC Challenge Cup champ Palestine. 

In their past eight times since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan reached the finals twice. In the 13th Asian Cup, they lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA rank of 37th in August 2004, and in 2011, reached the quarter-finals where they lost to Uzbekistan in 2-1.

Jordan, who finished runners-up at the 8th West Asian Football Federation Championship, was a step away from reaching the last World Cup for the first time after playing Uruguay in their intercontinental qualifying tie. The Kingdom lost the home game 5-0 and held the former World Cup champs 0-0 in the away match. 

Jordan had previously never gone past Round 3 of the World Cup qualifiers since first taking part in 1985.

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