Belgian Vital Borkelmans looking for Jordan to prove themselves against Saudi Arabia

Vital Borkelmans is the new Jordan boss and has been tasked with getting the team to make an impression at next year's Asian Cup. (AFP)
Updated 01 October 2018
0

Belgian Vital Borkelmans looking for Jordan to prove themselves against Saudi Arabia

  • New Jordan boss looking to use friendly against Green Falcons to gauge where his side are ahead of the Asian Cup.
  • Borkelmans wants to create a new level of confidence in the Jordan camp.

LONDON: New Jordan national team coach Vital Borkelmans is looking forward to
November’s Asian Cup warm-up against Saudi Arabia and a chance to prove that his side can shock at the continental competition taking place in the UAE in January.
The 55-year-old was No. 2 to Belgium boss Marc Wilmots from 2012 to 2016, four years when the Red Devils established themselves as one of the best teams in the world and now has a different challenge.
The former international full-back is now charged with making Jordan a continental power, starting with the Asian Cup where they have been dumped in a tricky group with defending champions Australia, Syria and Palestine.
Saudi Arabia, who made six out of seven continental finals between 1984 and 2007 — winning three — have excellent Asian Cup credentials and Borkelmans expects and hopes for a tough test in Amman.
“Saudi Arabia (are) a good team,” Borkelmans told Arab News. “They are strong, as I saw at the World Cup, and after that first game with Russia, Saudi Arabia performed well against Uruguay and then beat Egypt — to win a game at the World Cup is a special thing.
“They are always in tournaments and they are a team that can show us what we have to do to succeed at the Asian Cup.”
If all goes well then Borkelmans’ contract may be extended until beyond January.
“They called me about it in May when we played against Cyprus when I was assistant coach to Jamal (Abu Abed) and I had been in the country 15 days. We had a good game against them.”
In early September, he got the top job. Most of his experience so far has been as an assistant but it has been valuable experience indeed. There is not much time before the Asian Cup but his first target is to try and replicate the atmosphere that he helped create with Belgium.
“I was working with Marc Wilmots with Belgium, we started in 2012 and we made a big family and that was very important,” he said. “It was a lot of the same squad and same players. Now with my job here, I also have a good group with a good mentality, the best players in Jordan. We will try our best. I believe in what I am doing and my staff believe in me.”
Belief is crucial to what Borkelmans is trying to do with a team that reached the last eight of the Asian Cup in 2004 and 2011.
“You must give players confidence. If I can increase the players’ confidence then I can get a 20-30 percent increase in quality and that can make the difference between success and failure.
“Sometimes I must put my efforts on the line and I am more than a father. When you are playing with young guys this is very important — look at some of the young players who have come up to play for Belgium, confidence is key.”
Jordan does not yet have the quality of Belgium, but if the new coach can make a difference in helping domestic stars become international ones, that will be another step in the right direction.
“There is a lot of difference between Belgian and Jordan players,” Borkelmans said. “Belgian players obviously go and play outside Belgium in bigger numbers but there is more than that. They play in the big clubs in England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France and they are also starting.
“But this is not Belgium and I have to choose Jordan players. The league here is not at a  high level compared to other leagues in Europe, but I have to give people a chance to get good results. I am giving the players a lot of responsibility. If we work together, we can make a surprise at the Asian Cup. I believe this.”


Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead

Updated 20 April 2019
0

Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead

  • Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor
  • Raptors held Orlando to 36% shooting

ORLANDO, Florida: Pascal Siakam had 30 points and 11 rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and the Toronto Raptors held off the Orlando Magic 98-93 on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor and the Raptors held Orlando to 36% shooting. Leonard had 10 rebounds, Danny Green had 13 points and Kyle Lowry finished with 12 points and 10 assist.
Terrence Ross led Orlando with 24 points, and Nikola Vucevic shook off a slow start to finish with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Game 4 is Sunday night in Orlando.
The Raptors trailed 61-60 midway through the third, then went on a 16-0 run over the next four minutes to take the lead for good. Siakam and Green were both 3 for 3 during the run, the Magic missed 10 consecutive shots over a span of 6 1/2 minutes and had to play uphill the rest of the way.
That being said, they went down swinging.
Lowry’s 3-pointer with 7:48 left gave Toronto its biggest lead at 86-69. The Magic came flying back, and Ross’ 3-pointer with 41 seconds left got Orlando to 96-93.
Leonard was short with a jumper on the next possession — but the Magic couldn’t control the rebound, and were doomed shortly afterward. Leonard made a pair of free throws with 12.9 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game again, and that closed the scoring.
Orlando, which finished the regular season by winning 13 of its final 14 home games, was 13 of 44 from 3-point range.
Toronto scored the first 10 points — the last five by Siakam, who was a problem from the outset for the Magic — and led by as many as 11 in the first half.
Orlando got within one on three occasions in the first half, but never got the lead in the opening 24 minutes. Toronto took a 48-45 lead into the break after Ross beat the clock from midcourt at the buzzer.
He took off from the Magic logo and released the ball with about a half-second remaining, it hitting the square on the backboard perfectly and dropping through. Ross never broke stride, watching the ball’s flight as he ran and kept going through the tunnel leading to the Magic locker room.
TIP-INS
Raptors: Toronto had lost four consecutive Game 3s. ... Patrick McCaw (sprained right thumb) was active, but did not play. ... The Raptors are 6-1 in their last seven road games this season. ... Siakam has 73 points and 30 rebounds in the series.
Magic: Among the former Orlando players in the building were Tracy McGrady, Jameer Nelson and Horace Grant. ... Orlando missed three shots at the rim in one third-quarter possession. Vucevic missed at the rim, and Gordon couldn’t convert on two putback tries. ... Attendance was 19,367, the second-most in the Amway Center’s nine-season history.
GOVERNOR SPEAKS
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s first lady Casey DeSantis were in attendance and received Magic “46” jerseys — a nod to his being the 46th governor of the Sunshine State. The governor and Magic CEO Alex Martins spoke pregame about the hope for Orlando to get another All-Star Game soon, though all through 2022 has already been awarded to other Eastern Conference cities — and Milwaukee, another East city, has expressed interest in 2023.
UP NEXT
Game 4 is Sunday night in Orlando.