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Soccer-Wilkins targeting Asian Cup success with Jordan
September 18, 2014 / 3:07 AM / 3 years ago

Soccer-Wilkins targeting Asian Cup success with Jordan

AMMAN, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Winning the 2015 Asian Cup should be the target for Jordan an ambitious head coach Ray Wilkins said after he signed his contract on Wednesday to take charge of the West Asians.

Jordan have only twice qualified for the Asian Cup finals but on both occasions reached the quarter-finals - in 2004 and in Qatar four years ago.

They have been handed a tricky draw for the January tournament in Group D alongside defending champions Japan, 2007 winners Iraq and tournament debutantes Palestine but Wilkins was undeterred.

“We have to go a couple better, it’s either the semi-finals or the final, we’re here to actually win,” former England midfielder Wilkins told reporters in the Jordanian capital on Wednesday.

“I think where we come from, in England we are having a winning mentality and in the clubs I have been with the winning mentality has been very strong, therefore I want come here and succeed, I do not want to lose.”

Wilkins, who will be assisted by former Manchester United, Arsenal and Ireland forward Frank Stapleton, succeeds Egyptian Hossam Hassan, who departed after failing to guide Jordan to a first World Cup finals when they lost 5-0 to Uruguay in the intercontinental playoff.

Their best qualifying showing under Hassan and his predecessor, Iraqi Adnan Hamad, has helped Jordan leap up to 56th in the FIFA rankings and they are currently judged the fourth best side in Asia by the world governing body.

Ahmed Abdel-Qader took charge for the recent loss to Uzbekistan and draw with China earlier this month but stood aside for the former AC Milan and Manchester United midfielder, who will begin with fixtures at home to Kuwait and away to Malaysia in October.

The 58-year-old Wilkins has extensive experience as an assistant coach in England with Chelsea, Fulham, Watford, Millwall and the national Under-21 team.

However, he has not held a head coach position since being sacked by Fulham in 1998 but he did take over in a caretaker role at Chelsea in two spells during the 2000s.

Jordanian Football Association head and FIFA Vice President Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein was delighted with the capture of Wilkins and was hopeful of continued success.

“The decision was taken following a very thorough selection process and consulting with football experts and friends to find the most suitable to lead our ‘Nashama’ during the next five months, particularly through the Asian Cup in Australia in 2015,” he told reporters.

”We have found that Mr. Wilkins’ international expertise is in line with our requirements and ambitions.

“This is going to be a unique opportunity for us to learn from someone who has contributed to the success of a number of elite English football clubs.” (Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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