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The Jordanian National Football team at the AFC Asian Cup 2011 quarter-finals (where they beat Syria, with 2-1)

Sports play an increasingly important role in the lives of Jordanians, most of whom are football fans. There are twelve professional football teams, the most popular of which are al-Faisaly and al-Wehdat. There are also ten women’s professional football teams, men’s and women’s national football teams, an Olympic football team, and a youth football team.

Jordan’s Prince Ali ibn al-Hussein, a major football supporter who has been the President of the National Football Association for a decade and President of the West Asian Football Federation as well, was elected earlier this year as a FIFA Vice-President. Jordan’s national football team reached 37 in the FIFA rankings in 2004, their best ever, though its ranking has now fallen to 81 in the FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking issued in April 2012.

There are 34 sports unions in the country, all under the Jordan Olympic Committee. Jordanian youth also enjoy basketball. Most private schools have basketball teams that take part in local championships. Jordan’s national basketball team represents the country at international championships; it qualified for the World Cup in Turkey in 2010.

Some Jordanian players have excelled in table tennis and have represented the kingdom in international championships, returning home with medals. Fast walking has taken Amman by storm since it was organized in 2006 to encourage a healthy life through walking. Twice a week, hundreds – sometimes more than a thousand – Jordanians and foreigners walk the streets of Amman wearing green vests. Organizers, wearing orange vests and carrying red lights and stop-signs, stop traffic while the walkers cross the streets.

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