Doha: Jordan coach Adnan Hamad feels his players can hold their heads high despite seeing their AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 run come to an end with a 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Uzbekistan at Khalifa Stadium.
Ulugbek Bakaevs double immediately after the interval saw Uzbekistan through to the last four for the first time in their relatively short history as Bashar Bani Yaseens reply shortly after the hour mark was not enough for Hamads men to remain in the competition.
However, they can reflect on a famous victory over Saudi Arabia and a highly creditable draw with Japan in the group stage and while Hamad rued a sluggish start to the second period, overall he felt a Jordan side shorn of four starters did themselves justice not only against the Central Asians but also on the continental stage.
“I am very proud of my team and the players,” he said.
“Our team lost concentration in the first five minutes of the second-half but after that, when we scored, we got back on track and almost equalised.
“I have to admit that fatigue and exhaustion were there because weve played three matches and also we were missing four regular players. This impacted our performance but we exit with heads held high and the players have served their country.
“They were affected with fatigue but we played very well I think. We covered a lot of ground and we also included some new players, which affected the team, but we missed some chances, largely down to tiredness.
“There was very little concentration at the start of the second-half, some players were affected by knocks but this is football. But Im happy with my team and I believe they have a good future ahead of them.
“We dont have an incisive forward with pace. The formation that we had was the best I could put together according to my expectations and we reached the quarter-finals.”
Hamad will now turn his attention to plotting Jordans path to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and although his contract runs out in a couple of months, the Iraqi is keen to extend his tenure with the team.
“The next stage for us is to prepare for qualification for the World Cup,” he said.
“I have full confidence in my team. My contract expires in April but Im very happy working with Jordan and the players that have served their country well.
“This team has a good future and there is now more experience.”