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Jordan plays India in FIBA Asian qualifiers for 2019 World Cup

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 22,2018 - Last updated at Feb 22,2018

AMMAN — Jordan plays India on Friday in their third Asian Group C qualifiers for the FIBA Basketball 2019 World Cup.

Jordan tops Group C after they beat Lebanon 87-83 and Syria 109-72. Lebanon beat India 107-72 and Syria beat India 74-57 in earlier matches.

The national team will face Syria on February 26 in Amman. Out of 16 competing teams 12 teams (the top three teams from each group) will move to the second round following which seven teams (the top three teams from each group and the best 4th), in addition to host China, will move to the World Cup set for August 31, 2019 which will include 32 teams.

The Jordanian squad is striving to get into competitive form after a rough year that saw internal strife among the governing body of the game, ending with the resignation of the Jordan Basketball Federation Board, and a transitional care-taking body of former players and marketing experts taking over until a new board is elected in the coming year.

Fans pin their hopes that the qualifying group will provide Jordan the chance to move to the FIBA Basketball World Cup finals. Last year, Jordan took third place in the West Asian Basketball Association (WABA) as Lebanon was crowned champs. The top four qualifiers then played at the 29th FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon where Jordan finished at a disappointing 8th place as Australia won the title, Iran came second and South Korea third.

As of 2017, the Asia Championships and the FIBA Oceania Championship merged into a one tournament to be known as the FIBA Asia Cup. It will now be held every 4-years.The tournament will determine the composition of the joint FIBA Asia and FIBA Oceania qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. 

Support for Jordan’s second most popular sport is seen as below par by most observers, leading to a decline in the game locally and less competitive on the regional scene although Jordan reached the World Championship in 2010 — and was the only Jordanian team to actually reach a world championship in a team sport alongside the Junior team in 1995.

A look back at Jordan’s basketball record in the past decade saw Jordan first winning the West Asia title in 2002. That was only repeated in 2014, when Jordan managed to win the WABA title for the second time in the absence of both the Lebanese and senior Iranian teams and represented the West Asia zone at the 5th FIBA Asia Cup (previously known as the FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup between 2004 and 2010 and FIBA Asia Cup from 2012 to 2014). 

China, as well defending FIBA Asia Championship titleholders Iran had automatically qualified. The champion was given an automatic berth to the following year’s FIBA Asia Championship. Qatar was Stankovic Cup/Asia Cup champ in 2004, Jordan in 2008, Lebanon in 2010 and Iran in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

In WABA 2010, Jordan finished second behind Iran and qualified to the 26th FIBA Asia Championship where, for the first time in the country’s history, Jordan reached the final, but lost the chance qualify to the 2012 Olympic Games after losing the final 70-69 to China. Jordan then played at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for men but was eliminated. The OQT gave Asia’s second and third teams a chance to qualify to the London Games basketball event. 

In 2016, Jordan beat Lebanon to clinch second place at the WABA to advance to the FIBA Asia Challenge where they finished third.

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