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Jordan U-23 football team in countdown for Asian Championships

By Aline Bannayan - Dec 22,2019 - Last updated at Dec 22,2019

AMMAN — The national U-23 Olympic football team left for Malaysia on Sunday for a final training camp ahead of the 4th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship, a qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

At the championship finals starting January 8 in Thailand, Jordan will play in Group D alongside Vietnam, North Korea and the UAE. During the past training agenda, the national team played many local friendlies and last finished third at the Dubai International Tourney.

“We have been steadily improving and aim to fight for a qualifying spot to the 2020 Olympics,” coach Ahmad Abdul Qader underlined during the training agenda.

In 2018, the U-23 team was knocked out of Round 1 of the 3rd AFC U-23 Championship. In 2016, it reached the quarter-finals and in 2014 it finished third. 

Looking back at 2019 and other national teams, Jordan was eliminated in Group A qualifiers and failed to qualify to the U-16 AFC Championship. Held once every two years, the competition serves as a qualifier for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Last year, Jordan bowed out of the Round 1 of the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship. 

The U-16 women’s squad was also eliminated from Group A qualifiers for the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship. Similarly, the women’s U-19 team was eliminated from Round 1 qualifiers for the AFC Championship. 

The U-19 men’s team suffered an early exit in Group E AFC qualifiers where the Kingdom finished second in its group, but failed to move on to the championship. The qualifiers included 46 teams playing in 11 groups with the top team from each group and top four second placed teams advancing to the championship.

Team officials had hoped to continue the positive results Jordan had in past editions of the U-19 events. Previously Jordan played at the AFC U-19 Championship five times with the best performance when it finished fourth in 2006 and advanced to the FIFA Youth World Cup in Canada in 2007. Jordan exited the first round in 2008 and 2010 and 2018 and reached the quarters in 2012. This was the third time Jordan failed to qualify after 2014 and 2016.

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