Teams discover opponents for 2020 Qualifiers
Kuala Lumpur: The draw for the AFC U-16 Championship 2020 Qualifiers concluded at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur yesterday with the 47 teams discovering their opponents.
The teams were divided into two zones of WEST (West, South and Central) with 25 teams, and EAST (East and ASEAN) with 22 teams.
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In Group A, Jordan will play host to 2018 runners-up Tajikistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Kuwait, while a Central Asian derby between hosts Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan awaits in Group B, which also includes Bahrain and India.
Islamic Republic of Iran will welcome Afghanistan, Maldives and Palestine, who have yet to reach the Finals, in Group C.
Oman has not missed an appearance in the Finals for the past five editions and will look to continue that trend when they travel to Saudi Arabia, also playing against Syria and Pakistan in Group D.
Qatar, who were the hosts of the inaugural Finals in 1985, will welcome Yemen, Bangladesh and Bhutan in Group E, while Kyrgyz Republic will have home advantage against 2016 champions Iraq, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates in Group F.
In the EAST Zone, 2018 quarter-finalists Indonesia will host two-time champions China PR, along with Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines and Northern Mariana Islands, three teams who have yet to reach the Finals, in Group G.
Vietnam, quarter-finalists in 2018, will host Group H, with Timor-Leste, Mongolia, Macau and Australia completing the cast.
Singapore’s last appearance in the Finals was in 2004, and in their bid to end that drought, the Southeast Asian side will play host to two-time champions DPR Korea, Hong Kong and Guam.
Defending champions Japan will be seeking a record fourth title when the young Samurai Blue, Malaysia and Cambodia travel to host nation Laos in Group J.
Group K host Laos face opponents in the form of two-time champions Korea Republic, 1998 champions Thailand and Chinese Taipei, as they aim to return to the Finals for the first time since 2004.
Top spot in the respective groups will earn direct qualification, while the four best second-placed teams will also advance to the 2020 Finals.
Should the yet to be determined host for the Finals finish either top of their group or among the best four second-placed teams, the next (5th) second-placed team in the ranking among all groups will qualify instead.
Groups with five teams will kick-off the 2020 Qualifiers on September 14, followed by the groups of four teams on September 18, with all ending on the 22nd.
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