BAHRAIN’S under-23 Olympic football team has been drawn in a challenging Group ‘B’ in the qualification phase for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship 2020.
The official draw ceremony was held yesterday at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur.
The qualifiers are scheduled to be held from March 22 to 26 next year, with a total of 44 teams divided into 11 groups.
Each group’s matches will be held in one host nation. Bahrain are the hosts of Group ‘B’, which also features Palestine, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The Bahrainis play their first qualifier against the Bangladeshis on March 22. On March 24, they take on Sri Lanka, and then on March 26, they face Palestine.
The 11 group winners and four best second-placed teams among all groups will qualify for the AFC U-23 Championship, with Thailand receiving automatic qualification being the host nation of the tournament.
In the event that Thailand finishes among the qualified teams to the event (either top of their group or one of the four best second-placed teams), the next (fifth) second-placed team in the ranking among all groups will qualify for the championship instead.
The 44 participating nations have been divided into two zones, namely West and East.
The West Zone features the West, South and Central Asian nations (24 teams); while the East Zone includes the East and the South East Asian nations (20 teams).
The AFC U-23 Championship 2020 is scheduled to take place in Thailand. It will act as the AFC qualifiers for the men’s football tournament at the 2020 Olympics.
GROUPS ([H] indicates Home team)
A: Qatar [H], Oman, Nepal, Afghanistan
B: Palestine, Bahrain [H], Bangladesh, Sri Lanka
C: Iraq, Iran [H], Turkmenistan, Yemen
D: Saudi Arabia [H], UAE, Lebanon, Maldives
E: Jordan, Syria, Kyrgyz Republic, Kuwait [H]
F: Uzbekistan [H], Tajikistan, India, Pakistan
G: North Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mongolia [H]
H: South Korea, Australia, Cambodia [H], Chinese Taipei
I: Japan, Myanmar [H], Timor-Leste, Macau
J: Malaysia [H], China, Laos, Philippines
K: Vietnam [H], Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei