Bangkok: Abdulghani Shahad is hoping history can repeat itself when the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 kicks off on Wednesday as he looks to guide Iraq to the Finals of the Olympic Games, just as he did four years ago in Qatar.
Shahad was at the helm as the Iraqis booked their place in Rio de Janeiro with a third place finish in the 2016 edition of the competition and he is setting his sights on a similar outcome ahead of his team’s Group A opener against Australia.
Continental glory and Olympics qualification up for grabs at Thailand 2020
Bangkok: Asia’s rising stars will look to clinch both Continental glory and qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games when the AFC U23 Championship begins in Thailand on Wednesday.
A total of 16 teams will look to succeed Uzbekistan following their 2-1 triumph over Vietnam two years ago and Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the AFC President, has sent his best wishes to the Continent’s future stars.
Bangkok: As host nation Thailand prepare to lock horns with Iraq, Australia and Bahrain at January’s AFC U23 Championship, there appears little to choose between Group A’s quartet of title contenders.
Ahead of Wednesday’s opening matches, when Iraq face Australia and Thailand take on Bahrain, join the-AFC.com as we begin our detailed look at the teams vying for Continental glory across four venues in Thailand.
The top two sides in Group A will qualify for the quarter-finals, while the tournament’s top three finishers will earn places at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Kuala Lumpur: A foursome of fearsome forwards are the main men to watch out for in Group A of the AFC U23 Championship 2020 containing hosts Thailand, inaugural winners Iraq, Australia and Bahrain.
The quartet will go into the campaign on the back of a strong 2019 and, in what is likely to be a closely contested group, their countries' hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 could rest upon their form in front of goal in Southeast Asia.
Bangkok: Iraq are just a day away from kicking off their AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Group A campaign against Australia but midfielder Amir Al Ammari is far from worried, stating that team spirit will drive the 2013-14 champions.
In an exclusive interview with the-AFC.com, Al Ammari said Iraq are anxious to get their campaign started as they look to not only win the coveted trophy for a second time but also seal Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification.
“We qualified in March, so it’s been awhile and I’m really looking forward to this tournament. It’s a big tournament for us as a country, and we want to do well.”
Deng: Graham Arnold has us ready for Thailand 2020
Kuala Lumpur: Australia are keen to make up for previous disappointments at the AFC U23 Championship and, ahead of Thailand 2020, veteran squad member Thomas Deng believes that under Graham Arnold the Olyroos could fulfill their potential.
Three editions of the AFC U23 Championship have come and gone and Australia, one of the heavyweights of the Continental game, are yet to better their quarter-final appearance since the inaugural tournament in Oman.
Indeed, when Olympic qualification was on the line at the 2016 tournament two years later, things got worse: they were unable to progress from the Group Stage.