By ROUFAN NAHHAS
2013-10-25 03:01 AM
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Jordan coach Husam Hassan has told his side to pay no heed to Uruguay's record and reputation when they meet in World Cup qualifying playoffs next month.
Hassan, as he has been since he was handed his first international coaching job at the start of the year, was defiant in a news conference at the Jordan Football Association offices on Thursday, 20 days before hosting two-time world champion Uruguay in Amman.
Jordan is aiming to reach its first World Cup finals.
"We understand very well the ability and the experience of the Uruguayan team, but we managed to reach this stage and to stand in front of the big players not out of nothing," Hassan said.
"You have to be big."
The return leg is in Montevideo on Nov. 20.
Jordan, more of a force at home than away, defied the odds when it made the playoffs by beating Uzbekistan in Tashkent 9-8 in a penalty shootout last month.
Since then, Hassan, an Egyptian great, has come under fire from fans for dropping suspended and injured players for the two-leg playoff.
He didn't address allegations he'd promoted inferior players, but said: "What is needed now is the support of the Jordanians for their historic match."
In preparation for the playoffs, Jordan will play friendlies against Nigeria on Monday in Amman and against Ghana on Nov. 4 in Doha, Qatar. They will "provide an excellent opportunity to weigh our options especially with new members in the team," Hassan said.