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Wihdat hope to advance in Asian Champions League

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 08,2016 - Last updated at Feb 08,2016

AMMAN — Jordan’s Wihdat hope to go beyond the preliminary round when the face Saudi Arabia’s Ittihad Jeddah on Tuesday in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Champions League 2016.

Wihdat have been league champs for the past two seasons. This year the team’s fortunes have turned around upside down as they conceded the season opening 33rd Super Cup to rivals Faisali, and where eliminated from the Jordan Cup. Now Wihdat only have the league title in contention.

As Leg 2 restarted this week and clubs start their regional matches, Wihdat sought to revamp the team, signing new pros and hope to compete for local and regional titles.

“We have spared no effort to put the team back on track. We aim to compete for advanced positions in the local and Asian competitions,” coach Hisham Abdul Mun’em told the media ahead of the team’s departure.

In addition to the Asian Champions League (ACL), Jordan’s Wihdat and Faisali will represent the Kingdom in the AFC Cup this season and matches are scheduled to kick off on February 23. If Wihdat advance past the ACL preliminary round, Jazira will replace them in the AFC Cup.

As league champs, Wihdat were Jordan’s representative in the ACL — the premier Asian competition — last year as well and were knocked out in the preliminary round by former titleholders Kuwait’s Qadissieh. In 2014, Shabab Urdun were eliminated by Bahrain’s Al Hidd.

In 2015, Jordanian teams were absent from advanced stages of Asian competitions as Wihdat and Jazira were knocked out of the AFC Cup Round of 16. While it was the first time for Jazira, who finished runner-up in the Jordan League and participated in the event after two-time AFC Cup champs Faisali declined, Wihdat were hoping to advance and win the AFC Cup for the first time after taking part eight times. 

In 2014, Jordan Cup champs That Ras exited the Round of 16 in their inaugural AFC participation, while former AFC Cup champs Shabab Urdun exited in Round 1. 

 

The second-tier Asian club competition was won by Syria’s Jeish in its inaugural 2004 edition. Jordan’s Faisali won titles in 2005 and 2006, and Shabab Urdun won in 2007.

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