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Women’s football team prepares for regional agenda

By Aline Bannayan - Aug 16,2015 - Last updated at Aug 16,2015

AMMAN — The women’s national football team is facing an uphill task to best prepare for upcoming qualifiers and competitions. 

The squad has regrouped to play Morocco in two friendlies later this month as they prepare for the 2016 Summer Olympics Football tournament Round 2 qualifiers kicking off September 14. 

Jordan topped Asian Group B qualifiers when it beat Uzbekistan 2-0, Hong Kong 1-0 and Palestine 6-0 and qualified to Round 2 to join other group leaders Myanmar, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand following which only the top team will move to Round 3 to play the top five seeded teams — Japan, Australia, South Korea and North Korea and China — before the top two qualify to represent Asia at the Olympic Games.

The Jordanian squad has lately had only a series of local friendlies and playing 81st ranked Morocco is not seen as a big advantage by observers. Jordan went up one spot to 53rd in the latest FIFA World Rankings and leads all Arab teams at 11th in the Asian continent trailing Japan, North Korea, Australia, China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Chinese Taiwan, Myanmar and Uzbekistan. 

It will be Jordan’s second time in qualifiers after the 2012 London Olympic qualifiers when it advanced to Round 2. In 2014, the senior women’s team exited Round 1 of the Asian Games and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2014 where it was also the only Arab team to have ever qualified. The squad is the reigning West Asian champ after winning the title with Iran, Lebanon and the UAE missing the event.

Meanwhile, as Jordan has started the countdown to host the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup, the U-16 team concluded a training camp in Germany as coach Maher Abu Hantash said the opportunity to represent Jordan would be open to all players, adding that the “best would be chosen to undertake the tough task”.

 

Women’s teams have been competing in all age divisions in the Asian zone. In 2014, the U-19 team was eliminated from Group A qualifiers for the 2015 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship. The squad was hoping to qualify for the second time after Jordan was the first Arab team to play in the 3rd finals in 2007. The U-16 girls team also failed to qualify to the 2015 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship after qualifying in 2013. 

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