Asia’s future stars to shine in Malaysia 2018
Kuala Lumpur: AFC U-16 Championship 2018 hosts Malaysia and Asia’s 15 best teams learnt their opponents on Thursday.
The draw, conducted at the AFC House, saw Malaysia, quarter-finalists in 2014, drawn in Group A with two-time champions Japan, 1998 winners Thailand and Tajikistan.
Group B has two-time champions DPR Korea with Oman, winners in 1996 and 2000, Yemen and Jordan.
Islamic Republic of Iran, the 2016 runners-up, will continue their pursuit of a first title, having drawn Vietnam, India and Indonesia in Group C.
Defending champions Iraq will look to make history by being the first team to win back-to-back titles as they face Australia, Korea Republic - who won the Championship in 1986 and 2002 - and tournament debutants Afghanistan in Group D.
Asian Football Confederation General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John emphasised the importance of the tournament in developing young players, saying: “The AFC U-16 Championship has a long and proud history, and the last edition in India was not only a huge success on the field, but it is also regarded as a defining moment for football and youth development in the country.
“The 16 best teams will compete for the title in September, and the added bonus is that the top four teams will represent Asia in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019, which will be held in Peru.
“The AFC U-16 Championship represents the foundation of the AFC’s vision and mission, which sets the objective to provide support for our teams and allow them to succeed on the world stage.
“I want to thank this year’s hosts, the Football Association of Malaysia, and I am sure we will witness a memorable Championship.”
The AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia is on September 20 - October 7.