Al Ain: Vital Borkelmans, the Belgian coach of Jordan, said that his team will not make things easy for defending champions Australia when they face off in the AFC Asian Cup group stages.
Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Australia are the teams drawn together in Group B for the premier Asian tournament that kicked off on Saturday.
Borkelmans, who is a former Belgian international, is keen to tap into his experiences in big tournaments to oversee a successful run for his charges and spoke to FTBL about his hopes.
“For me, its very important that the players are ready for this tournament, the big tournament,” he said.
“I’ve put a lot of positive things in their hands and made them stronger and stronger every day. We will see what’s happening in the game. I played in two World Cups and I know tournaments like these are so, so special.”
It also serves the Jordan team’s interests that Borkelmans has come across Australian players and, indeed, the Australian head coach himself in his playing days.
“I know a lot of players from Australia,” Borkelmans revealed. “I know the coach very well as well, I played against him in Belgium. This is a team has a lot of experience — the World Cup, two times in the Asian Cup.”
“I know the mentality of Australians is very good. They are strong, they are physically good, mentally good and they believe in their country.”
However, the former defender who played for Club Brugge in his playing days also added that he is under no illusions of the size of the task ahead of him in Jordan’s tournament opener. “Jordan is not a country like Australia, or like China or the rest of the world,” he said.
“The competition in Jordan is very low, in our four-week camp we trained three times a day in the first two weeks. Now at this moment we are physically and mentally very strong. The first game is very important and I’ve improved my players physically and mentally.
“I am a happy coach at the moment. Jordan have changed a lot and I hope we can make the game for Australia very difficult. Sometimes when you have a good team you can also lose,” he added.