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Jordan drops head coach, hosts Oman

By Aline Bannayan - Sep 10,2018 - Last updated at Sep 10,2018

AMMAN  — Jordan’s national football team hosts Oman on Tuesday as part of their preparations for the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE.

Jordan last beat Cyprus 3-0 earlier in this summer and then lost to Lebanon 1-0 this week. On Monday, the team’s coach Jamal Abu Abed was relieved of his duty by the Jordan Football Association as the team gears up for the continent’s most important football event. 

At the Asian Cup, Jordan will play alongside Australia, Syria and Palestine in Group B.

While the team’s path to the championship was not difficult against relatively unknown teams on the Asian continent, now comes the serious part. Twenty-four teams will play in six groups with the top two from each group and four third placed teams advancing to the Round of 16. 

The Kingdom’s competitive edge is lacking and judging by FIFA Rankings it seems there will be a tough task ahead. Once among Asia’s top 10, Jordan is now 19th in the continent and 110th in the latest FIFA Rankings. The national team is now lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams. Jordan ended 2017 at 107th — a position they did not better throughout last year. 

Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan reached the Asian Championship three times. The peak was at the 13th Asian Cup, when they lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA Ranking of 37th in August 2004. They also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015.

After elimination from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, playing in the Asian finals was a priority for Jordan who have steadily slid down FIFA Rankings and the team has had inconsistent results compared to 2013 when Jordan was on the verge of qualifying to the 2014 World Cup for the first time.

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