One of Jordan’s star players preparing to take part in April’s 2018 AFC Asian Women’s Cup believes the Kingdom has never had a better chance to qualify for the World Cup.
Aya Al Majali has revealed the growing belief that is sweeping through the Jordan camp which is preparing to welcome the best players in Asia to Jordan for the 19th edition of the continental competition. '
With three World Cup places up for grabs, Aya believes that this current Jordan team is capable of upsetting the sport’s traditional big guns to become the first Arab nation to reach the big time.
“Home advantage will play a big part in our campaign,” said Aya.
“Our supporters will have a big role to play. They could give us that extra push to get us across the line.”
Many of the players in the squad were a part of the Jordan team that gained crucial experience playing in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup last year, and Aya, 25, believes that experience will be key.
“The younger players have come together well with the older and more experienced players in the squad so we have a very nice mix,” said the defender.
“I think we are ready now to be the first Arab team to qualify for the World Cup.”
But it won’t be easy. Jordan are in Group A alongside China, Thailand and the Philippines, while group B includes Japan, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam.
The group winners and runners-up qualify to the World Cup while a play-off between the two third-placed finishers will determine the fifth team to go through.
“The championship provides us with a door to the World Cup, we just need to do whatever we can to go through it,” added Aya.
The Kingdom has been marking 100 days to go until it hosts one of its biggest ever sporting events which gets underway on April 6.
It follows on nicely from the success of the FIFA event held that drew widespread praise from across the footballing community.
It also sparked widespread development in the female game in Jordan and fans will be looking forward to seeing how far it has come.
“We have outstanding players in Jordan who have gone through tough times to prove their talents,” added Aya. “We have had the support of HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the Jordan Football Association President, who has followed us all along the way.
With the Jordan fans behind us as well I am sure we can do it. “Since we hosted the FIFA event the general attitude towards girls and women playing football has changed here.
Girls are encouraged to play football now. Families are now a lot more supportive and hopefully this tournament will continue to support this change.”