Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Brisbane: Jordan are out to prove their impressive run through the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign was of no fluke at the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015, according to striker Ahmad Hayel.
Jordan reached the quarter-finals on their two previous AFC Asian Cup appearances in 2004 and 2011, and are coming off a near miss of what would have been their first trip to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, losing to Uruguay in a two-legged intercontinental play-off.
And while Ray Wilkins' side have not won a game since qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup back in March, Jordan remain firm believers they can get out of a Group D which includes holders Japan, Palestine and Monday’s opponents Iraq.
"We worked really hard to get to the World Cup play-off; it didn't come from thin air," Al Arabi striker Hayel said.
"We want to continue to achieve things for Jordan and we will keep seeking results here. When we drew with Uruguay in Montevideo, it gave the Jordanian national team a lot of credit. We want to keep this credit and we trust the team to have good results here.
"We've played in the Asian Cup twice, in 2011 and 2004, and we produced good results then. That's given us the push to make it happen here in Australia. We trust in ourselves and we trust in the opportunity we have here. We like to think we have what it takes to go far in this competition."
Jordan open their 2015 AFC Asian Cup campaign against Iraq in Brisbane on Monday before facing debutants Palestine and four-time winners Japan.
"We respect the other teams in the group, be it Japan or Iraq or Palestine," Hayel said. "We've already played them several times before, especially Iraq; there's nothing hidden between us. We know each other very well.
"In the past year, we played two matches against Japan and four matches with Iraq. We're preparing ourselves the way we usually do when we play those teams. I think we've done everything we can to try to take three points off Iraq in the first game.
"The Jordanian team is known for its fighting spirit on the pitch. It's what allowed us to beat Japan in the World Cup qualifier in Jordan, and we will try to reproduce the result here. Japan are a good team, they are the title holders, but that will not stop us from trying to win again."
Hayel is one of many players within the Jordan squad who ply their trade overseas, although unlike Japan as well as Korea Republic and Australia, this does not include Europe.
"One of the reasons the likes of Japan, Australia and South Korea have had success is because they are big countries with a lot of their players playing in Europe. It's why they are improving themselves faster than us,” Hayel added.
"If we started putting our players in Europe that will give us the ability to improve ourselves and let West Asia or the Gulf countries win the Asian Cup again and compete at the World Cup.
"The Arab teams also take too long to pass on the torch. But I think that's changing and the youth players are coming through faster and faster."