Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Melbourne: Jordan coach Ray Wilkins admits his side are facing a difficult task as they seek to put their AFC Asian Cup Australia Group D campaign back on track against Palestine in Melbourne on Friday.
The Jordanians were beaten 1-0 by 2007 champions Iraq on Monday to cast doubt over their ability to progress to the knockout phase, a defeat that prolonged the side’s recent run of poor form.
Jordan have reached the quarter-finals on their only two previous AFC Asian Cup appearances in 2004 and 2011, but the loss to Iraq saw the team from the Hashemite Kingdom extend their winless streak to 11 games since beating Syria 2-1 in March in the final game of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 qualifiers.
“We are looking forward to it immensely. We have to win two games, we have to beat Palestine and we have to beat Japan, so it will be very difficult for us, but we are looking forward to it immensely,” added Wilkins.
“The game is so important to us as we have to progress so we have to win, a draw is no good.”
Jordan will look to gain a positive result against Palestine to keep their qualification hopes alive ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Japan in Melbourne, with Wilkins out to join Mahmoud El Gohary and Adnan Hamad on an esteemed list of coaches who have taken the team to the last eight.
“I have been fortunate in my life to work with some wonderful footballers, but the thing that this team gives me is belief we can improve because every training session we have they give me 100%,” said Wilkins.
“They never argue and get on with their job, and if I can help improve these guys, that is what I am here for. When we get beat no one is as depressed as me. They give me everything, I couldn't ask for anything more.”
Jordan’s task has not been made any easier by loss of Saudi Arabia-based defender Anas Bani Yaseen, who was sent-off in the closing stages of the defeat in Brisbane, and Ahmad Hayel, Jordan’s top scorer during qualifying for Australia with three goals, through health issues.