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U-23 football team eyes regional competitions

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 22,2024 - Last updated at Feb 22,2024

AMMAN — Jordan U-23 squad and other age-divisions are now battling time as they prepare for their respective Asian competitions.

After the senior national team played for the title of the recently concluded 2023 Asian Cup, the U-23 team has upped its aspirations, hoping to advance Jordan to the Olympic Games for the first time.

Despite a bumpy preparation agenda, during which team coach Abdullah Abu Zam’eh was recalled for assistant coach duty with the senior team at the Asian Cup, the U-23 squad has started the countdown to the West Asian Championship which will be held in Saudi Arabia March 18-26 with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE competing alongside guest teams Egypt, Australia and Korea.

In 2023, Jordan reached the semis of the U-23 West Asian Championship, which they won in 2021. They did not play in 2022.

The West Asian event will be followed by the 6th AFC U23 Asian Cup set for April 15 in Qatar, which qualifies the top three teams to the Olympics while the fourth will play a playoff to advance.

Jordan was drawn in Group A alongside hosts Qatar, Australia and Indonesia.

Group B includes Japan , Korea, UAE and China.

Group C includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Thailand and Tajikistan;

Group D includes Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Kuwait and Malaysia.

The U-23 squad was hoping to have a series of competitive friendlies as they prepare for their events. They lately lost two friendlies against Saudi and Qatar and earlier also lost to Egypt.

On the other hand, the U-20 team has concluded two training camps in Turkey. In the first they won two matches and drew in a third after they earlier hosted Lebanon beating them twice.

The team is preparing for the Asian Cup qualifiers in September — a qualifier to the U-20 World Cup.

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