WAFF Championship: Jordan Needs to Beat Kuwait to Stay in Contention

Published August 7th, 2019 - 11:45 GMT
Jordan football team (Photo: Kooora)
Jordan football team (Photo: Kooora)

Jordan plays Kuwait on Wednesday in its second match at the 9th West Asian Championship currently under way in Iraq.

The national football squad went down 1-0 to Bahrain in its opening match and need to win to keep qualifying chances alive.

Kuwait beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 and now tops Group B. Group A matches saw host Iraq beat Lebanon 1-0 and Palestine 2-1, while Palestine beat Yemen 1-0 and Lebanon beat Syria 2-1.

The event will see the top team only from each group advancing to the August 14 final match. Jordan lost 2-0 to Qatar in the final match of the 8th edition of the Championship. It was the third time for Jordan in the final, finishing runner-up three times but never winning the title.

Initiated by Jordan in 2000, and headed by HRH Prince Ali, president of the Jordan Football Association (JFA) and the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), Jordan’s best finish at WAFF Championship was runner-up in 2002, 2008 and 2014. Iran won the title for the fourth time in 2008. Iraq won the title once in 2002, Kuwait in 2010, Syria in 2012 and Qatar in 2014.

The West Asian Championship comes before Jordan starts the jounrey for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Qatar and 2023 Asian Cup in China. Jordan will play in Group 2 alongside Australia, Taiwan, Kuwait and Nepal in the qualifiers.

The Kingdom dropped one place to 99th in the latest FIFA world rankings which came after Jordan played two friendly matches losing to Slovakia 5-1 before beating Indonesia 4-1. Once among the Asia top 10, Jordan is now 16th in the continent but still lags behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to its best FIFA ranking of 37th in 2004.

National teams gear up

Meanwhile, the U-19 national team which concluded a training camp in Turkey, is slated to play Algeria on August 13 and 16 before it plays the West Asian Championship from Aug 23-30. The U-19 squad was drawn in Group E alongside hosts Bahrain, Bangladesh and Bhutan for their Asian qualifiers kicking off November 1. Playing in two zones, 46 teams will compete in 11 groups. The top team from each group and top four second placed teams will advance to the championship.

The U-16 team is also preparing for its Group A qualifiers for the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Championship. Jordan got a relatively easy draw against Tajikistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Kuwait for the qualifiers to be hosted in Amman September 14-22. Playing in two zones, 47 teams will compete in 11 groups. The top team from each group and top four second placed teams will advance to the championship.

Last year, Jordan bowed out of the Round 1 of the 2018 AFC U-16 Men’s Championship. Held once every two years, the competition serves as a qualifier for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with the top four countries qualifying.

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