Jordan boss bemoans Asian Cup scheduling

Jordan coach Adnan Hamad has bemoaned scheduling conflicts as his attempts to steer the side through to a first World Cup finals were complicated by having to also negotiate an Asian Cup qualifying campaign.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) conducted the draw for the 2015 Asian Cup qualifiers in Australia on Tuesday and Jordan were one of seven teams involved that are also still in contention for a place at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

Japan and South Korea avoided Asian Cup qualifying courtesy of being in the top-three finishers at the last Asian Cup, along with runners-up Australia, who will host the 2015 tournament.

But Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Iran, Lebanon, Uzbekistan and Iraq will all be required to handle overlapping campaigns.

The Asian Cup matches will begin in February and run through to March 2014 with the top two sides from each group advancing to the finals.

The World Cup qualifiers are ongoing with the final match date scheduled for June 18 next year. Jordan currently hold one of the top-two automatic qualifying berths for Brazil after their shock 2-1 home win over Australia in Group B last month and travel to face bottom-placed Oman next week.

In the regional qualifiers, Jordan were drawn with Syria, Singapore and Oman but Hamad was only concentrating on the fourth round World Cup clash in Muscat.

"We have a very good chance to reach the [Asian Cup] finals, but there is a problem as some of the matches are going to be played at the same period with the World Cup qualifiers," Hamad told the Asian Football Confederation.

"We must focus now on the upcoming two matches in the World Cup qualifiers, then we will start thinking about the Asian Cup qualifications. We must give it [the World Cup qualifications] full attention as we want to reach the finals."

Qatar were drawn alongside Bahrain, Yemen and Malaysia in Group D of Asian qualifying but their Brazilian coach Paulo Autuori shared Hamad's view of only thinking about next Tuesday's World Cup clash.

Qatar are currently third in their five-team World Cup group behind South Korea (seven points) but level on four points with Iran and Lebanon, with the Uzbeks two points back in last.

"We only think about the match with Uzbekistan in World Cup qualifying now," Autuori told the AFC. "We will start thinking about the Asian Cup qualifiers after the Uzbekistan match."

Lebanon have enjoyed some rapid progress under German coach Theo Buckner and are competing in the fourth round of World Cup qualifiers for the first time. Expected to be the whipping boys of Group A, Lebanon stunned Iran 1-0 last month and Buckner talked up his side's chances of reaching the Asian Cup finals after being drawn alongside Thailand, Kuwait and Iran, again.

"We must work very hard to keep the same level we reached with the national team," Buckner told the AFC. "Our chances are there to reach the Asian Cup, but we must prepare the team in a good way to make them capable of playing the World Cup qualifications and Asian Cup qualifying matches at the same time."

2015 Asian Cup qualifying draw: Group A - Jordan, Syria, Oman, Singapore. Group B - Iran, Kuwait, Thailand, Lebanon. Group C - Iraq, China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia. Group D - Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Malaysia. Group E - Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Hong Kong.


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