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Women’s football squad upbeat

Junior teams prepare for Asian qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Jun 24,2017 - Last updated at Jun 24,2017

AMMAN — All of Jordan’s different age division football teams are preparing for their respective qualifiers and competitions.

Jordan’s U-23 squad will leave for Qatar for a friendly tournament from June 28-July 7 in the final phase of preparations for qualifiers of the 3rd Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship in 2018. 

The Kingdom was drawn in Group E in the July 19-24 qualifiers hosted by Palestine which also includes Tajikistan and Bangladesh, as 40 teams play in 10 groups with the top team from each group, in addition to the top five second place teams moving to the championship finals. 

The team played an eight-nation tournament in Dubai earlier this year where they finished third after they beat Singapore 2-0, held China 0-0, lost 1-0 to the UAE before beating Malaysia 4-0. They also meet Oman in two friendlies earlier this month.

In 2016, Jordan was eliminated from the quarterfinals of the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship and failed to make it to the top four and a possible Olympic slot as the continent’s top three advanced to the Rio Games football tournament. In the inaugural AFC U-22 Championship in 2014, Jordan took third place when they beat South Korea while Iraq won the title after defeating Saudi Arabia.

In 2015, Jordan’s U-23 squad was eliminated from the 1st West Asian U-23 Championship and in 2014 the line-up represented Jordan at the Asian Games where they made to the quarterfinals.

Furthermore, the women’s squad this week hosted Algeria in two friendlies losing the first match 1-0 but came back to win the second 3-2. On the weekend, Jordan moved back to 50th in the latest FIFA Rankings after previously losing its ranking following 18 inactive months. Among Arab teams, Tunisia is 72nd, Morocco 73rd, Algeria 76, Bahrain 78th, Egypt 81st, the UAE 83rd, Palestine 92nd, Syria 114th and Iraq 117th.

Jordan is reading to host the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and ended its Group A qualifiers with an unbeaten streak beating the Philippines 5-1, Tajikistan 10-2, Iraq 10-0, the UAE and Bahrain 6-0. 

The continent’s top eight teams will be competing in the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the qualifiers had 21 teams playing in four groups. With Jordan technically securing a slot as host, the Philippines who came in second in the group clinched the qualifying slot from Group A, South Korea from Group B, Thailand from Group C while Vietnam moved Group D to join teams who have automatically qualified: reigning champs Japan, Australia and China.

In 2016, Jordan hosted the U-17 FIFA World Cup, the first of its kind to take place in the Middle East. Now, the Kingdom will be the first country in the west Asia zone to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup which is held every four years, and has been won by China a total of eight of 15 times. The top five will advance to the Women’s World Cup 2019 in France.

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. 

The Kingdom’s younger squads are also training for their respective Asian qualifiers. The U-19 men’s team, hosted Iraq in two friendlies this week drawing 3-3 after winning 1-0.

Jordan is set to play in Group E alongside Syria, Palestine and hosts Iran in the qualifiers, and hope to advance after they were eliminated from the qualifying rounds of the 2016 Championship. 

Jordan previously qualified to the Asian Championship four times and reached the FIFA Youth World Cup in Canada in 2007. Jordan finished fourth in 2006, but exited the group stages in 2008 and 2010 and reached the quarters in 2012. Jordan failed to qualify to the 2014 Championship. 

 

Similarly, the U-16 team is now preparing for their Asian qualifiers in which they will play in Group A alongside hosts Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Sri Lanka. In 2015, the U-16 squad failed to advance to the 2016 AFC U-16 Asian Championship.

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