Why is a Jordanian called A Nashama
Jordan can take a big step towards the 2014 World Cup against Uruguay. It would be the greatest success of a country that so far has not only had sporting fights. You get support from a prince.
The national press spoke of a "miracle". The players were celebrated like heroes. They would have "made the impossible possible". The Jordanian national team won 9: 8 on penalties in the Asian group against Uzbekistan and qualified for the decisive playoff game against Uruguay.
For the first time in the history of the country, coach Hossam Hassan's team now has the chance to take part in the finals of a world championship. The opportunity alone made the fans flock to the streets of Amman after the Uzbekistan game and celebrate the success with fireworks and shots of joy.
"When you hear fireworks in Jordan after a football game, it's usually about Barcelona or Real Madrid," said one supporter after the game. The nation finally has the opportunity to celebrate a "truly Jordanian" success.
Mainly Barcelona and Real Madrid fans
"There are a lot of Real and Barca fans in Jordan, especially among the youth," said Qatari Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain and director of "Al Jazeera Sport".
Its broadcaster plays an essential role: The specialty channel shows mainly international sport and broadcasts the games of the Spanish league and the French Ligue 1. National football is not particularly valued due to the lack of success.
The fact that the national team is getting off to such a good start in the current World Cup qualification cannot be overestimated. Internationally, the national players have little experience. The greatest success of the "Nashama", as the team is called in their own country, is reaching the quarter-finals at the Asian Championships.
Only coach Hassan took part in a World Cup with Egypt in 1990 - but still as a player. As a coach, he now ensured that Jordan defeated the heavily favored Japanese and Australians 2-1 on their way to the playoffs. At home, Jordan is still unbeaten in the ongoing competition. This unexpected success not only has a positive effect on sports.
Conflicts between Jordanians and Palestinians
A conflict between the ethnic Palestinians and Bedouins has been smoldering in the country for years. Although the approximately 1.8 million descendants of the refugees from Israel and Palestine have all civil rights, some complain that they do not occupy higher positions within society. The Jordanians, on the other hand, accuse the Palestinians of not identifying sufficiently with the country.
Even the domestic league is burdened by this dispute: The prestigious derby between Al Faisaly, the club of the "East Bankers", and Al Wihdat, the club of the "thoroughbred" Jordanians, is repeatedly overshadowed by unrest. The last time bottles and stones were thrown during the derby in 2010, 150 people were injured.
Especially in the eighties, the fan camps were so divided that Al Wihdat drew conclusions and renamed itself "Al Daftain", which means "the association of the two banks". This was to send a signal to advance an agreement between the Jordanians and the Palestinians. But the thought didn't last long, just three years later the old name was taken back.
Support from the prince
It is thanks to the sporting leadership - and to Prince Ali bin al-Hussein - that Jordan managed to fight its way up to 70th place in the FIFA world rankings under these circumstances. He is President of the Jordanian Football Association and was elected Vice-President of the FIFA Executive Committee two years ago.
Al-Hussein, a close confidante of Joseph Blatters, is a financially important pillar of both the team and the fans. In the run-up to the game, he addressed the supporters in an open letter: "To all brothers and sisters who are proud of our team! With perseverance and pride, heart and sacrifice, we have come a long way. He lives in my heart I believe that with the support of every Jordanian we can make this World Cup dream come true, "said the prince, calling on the fans to celebrate their team unconditionally.
Important players are missing
He wants to provide a plane for the second leg in Uruguay so that as many fans as possible can support their team. The first leg will be difficult enough. Important players have been eliminated in Amman: First goalkeeper Amer Shafi will be absent due to a yellow card suspension, and some other players have minor injuries.
"We're playing against Uruguay, one of the top 10 teams in the world. If you look at our position, it's a bit like David versus Goliath," said the president. The team has actually already fulfilled its target.
The World Cup qualifying playoffs at a glance
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