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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 26/02/2010

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(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Jordan will play Palestine on Friday in the semifinals of the 3rd West Asian Women's Football Championship currently under way in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The UAE plays Bahrain in the other semifinal before the winners meet in the final on Sunday and the losers face-off for the third-place match.

The Kingdom's team topped Group A after beating runners-up Iran 4-0 and Bahrain 4-1. Bahrain finished second in the group after they stunned Iran with a 1-0 win.

The UAE topped Group B after they beat Palestine 4-2 and Kuwait 7-0, while Palestine scored a crushing 17-0 win over newcomers Kuwait to finish second.

Jordan's coach Maher Abu Hantash underlined the players' determination to win. "We topped the group and now look forward to reach the final and retain title,'' Hantash was quoted as saying in a statement from the Jordan Football Association.

Players dedicated the wins to JFA President HRH Prince Ali and Princess Rym Ali. "Their Royal Highnesses supported us in every way. This is our small token of gratitude,'' team star Stephanie Naber, who now plays professionally for Danish Club Fortuna, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Teammate Maysa Jbara, in the JFA statement, added: "The win was a result of everyone's hard work. We proved we are the better team.''

Jordan won the West Asian title in the 2005 and 2007 editions which were held in Amman. Last summer, the squad reached second stage qualifiers but failed to clinch the sole qualifying berth for the 2010 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup.

The national team is now the highest ranked Arab team at 52nd leading Algeria (65) and Tunisia (69) in FIFA women's rankings.

Jordanian women's football has steadily gained popularity and stature even on the Asian scene. In 2005, Jordan was the first Arab team to qualify to the 3rd AFC U-19 Women's Championship finals. In 2006 and 2008 they were eliminated from the qualifiers.

Jordan also was the sole Arab team at the Doha Asian Games in 2006 and won silver at the 3rd Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam in 2009.

By Aline Bannayan

 






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