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Jordan starts countdown for 2018 women’s Asian football qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Mar 07,2017 - Last updated at Mar 07,2017

AMMAN — The women’s national football team is undergoing a local training camp ahead of their upcoming qualifiers the 2018 AFC Women’s Football Championship starting April 3.

Group A qualifiers will be held in Tajikistan with Jordan playing Bahrain, the UAE, Iraq, Tajikistan and the Philippines. The qualifiers will see 21 teams, divided into four groups, vying for four slots to the 2018 AFC Women’s Championship which will be held in Amman grouping the continents top eight teams. The event, held every four years, has been won by China a total of 8 of 15 times. Japan is reigning champ. The top team from each group will move to the championship which includes Japan, Australia, China and host Jordan who has automatically qualified. If Jordan tops its group, the runner-up will also advance.

Team officials and observers have voiced concern over the inadequacy of friendly matches ahead of the qualifiers apart from hosting Algeria in two matches winning 2-1 and losing 3-2. 

Jordan, now 52nd in the latest FIFA Rankings, and 11th in Asia, is eagerly anticipating qualifiers for the 2018 AFC Women’s Championship after the U-17 team competed in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2016, where they were eliminated from the first round after playing Spain, Mexico and New Zealand.  Jordan beat bids from Uruguay, South Africa, Ireland and Bahrain. Jordan was the only Arab team at the U-17 World Cup after Egypt and Morocco were eliminated from the qualifiers.

The U-17 FIFA World Cup, the first of its kind to take place in the Middle East, was a big boost not only for the Kingdom but women’s sports in the region. Now Jordan will be the first country in the west Asia zone to host an AFC women’s championship. 

The last time the senior team competed regionally was in 2015, when they exited the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a winless record.

 

Jordan’s women’s football teams have been competing in all age divisions in the Asian zone. In 2007, the Kingdom qualified to the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship as the only Arab team but in 2014 and 2016 the team was eliminated from the qualifiers. The U-16 team qualified to the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship in 2013, but failed to qualify to the 2015 and 2017 Championships.

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