Borkelmans targets perfection ahead of Australia tie
Amman: Vital Borkelmans has set his sights on six points from Jordan’s upcoming Asian Qualifiers' ties against Kuwait and Nepal as he looks to consolidate his team’s position in Group B ahead of November’s crunch clash with top seeds Australia.
The Jordanians made a winning start to their campaign last month with a 2-1 victory over Chinese Taipei, and the Belgian wants his players to maintain the team’s perfect start despite fitness concerns due to an ongoing shutdown of the Jordan Premier League.
With the Socceroos showdown looming next month – November’s game will be a rematch of the nations’ AFC Asian Cup opener in which Jordan claimed a surprise win – Borkelmans is looking to instill a winning mentality into his team going into the next two rounds as the battle for places in the next phase of qualifying starts to intensify.
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“For me the most important game is now, on October 10 against Kuwait,” Borkelmans told the-AFC.com. “When you have these games and we put six points with the three points we have, that means nine from nine. Then we can do anything we want against Australia.
“They will also be afraid if we have nine from nine. I put this to my players. I want them to fight for every metre. I tell them even when they play cards they must want to win. In every game you play you must try to win and they believe in that."
回味昨天中華男足團結一氣的精采表現! 下周二9月10日晚上7點10分台北田徑場，世界盃資格賽第二戰主場迎戰尼泊爾，讓我們持續氣勢，一舉拿下勝利! 捨我其誰，更待何時! 還沒買票的購票這裡去：https://bit.ly/2Zl0A2g 📺緯來體育台 🖥Yahoo運動全程直播 http://sc.piee.pw/LMSU2Posted by 中華民國足球協會CTFA on Thursday, 5 September 2019
“I have a lot of good players with a good heart and we will do it. We will go for it because I believe in my players. We have a big game on October 10 and also against Nepal and then Australia. And then we will see because everything is possible.
“When you have a good result in these two games coming then everything is possible against the big teams.”
The squad’s preparations for the upcoming games have been hampered by the delayed start to the Jordan Premier League, which has left Borkelmans’ domestic-based players short of match fitness.
Those issues were apparent during the win over Chinese Taipei, when Jordan struggled in the second half having dominated the first 45 minutes, and in the friendly meeting with Paraguay later the same month, which they lost 4-2 after taking a two-goal lead into the break.
The situation means the former Belgium assistant coach will be heavily reliant on his overseas-based players, several of whom made appearances in the second half of the team’s 0-0 draw with Singapore on Saturday.
“It was very difficult,” said Borkelmans of the Singapore game. “We trained without the outside players but I had to have the game. Many of the players went for four months without a game and I gave them the chance to play. The result was 0-0 and we had many chances while Singapore never made a chance and defended with nine players.
“But for me it was very important because we had players who have gone four months without a game. We have no league here and we have to have a game like Saturday. They can only train and this is not the same as playing a game.”
Despite the issues affecting his team’s preparations, the 56-year-old is confident the methods he employed to take the country to the verge of the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year will stand his team in good stead in the upcoming qualifiers.
“I know how we play and what we will do against Kuwait and Nepal and these are the most important games in my life,” he said. “I know how they play. Kuwait have been here for many days now but I don't care about them. I play my system, I play my way and I don’t look to anybody.
“I believe in my players and I put a lot of confidence in my players and I hope that the people of Jordan and the media do as I do. These players need it. They are good guys, they work hard and have a big heart for Jordan. But it’s not as easy as everybody thinks.”
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