Kuala Lumpur: Nations participating in the AFC U-19 and U-16 Women’s Championships 2017 qualifiers will learn their opponents during official draws at AFC House in the Malaysian capital on Thursday.
The top four teams in the 2015 edition of the U-19 competition in China – Japan, DPR Korea, Korea Republic and China – received direct qualifications to the tournament with 18 teams to battle it out in the qualifiers.
The seedings for the draw will be based on the rankings of China 2015 while teams who did not take part in 2015 will be unranked.
The 18 teams playing in the qualifiers are Hong Kong, India, Iran, Jordan, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Korea Republic, Lebanon, Myanmar, Northern Mariana Islands, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines Singapore, Thailand (hosts), Tajikistan (hosts), Uzbekistan (hosts) and Vietnam (hosts).
Based on the total number of teams, there will be two groups of four and two groups of five teams (total four groups) and each group will play a one-round league in a centralised venue.
The winner from each group (total four teams) will qualify to the finals (eight teams total) and Member Associations who have expressed their interest to host the qualifiers will be drawn into separate groups.
The qualifiers will be held from October 29 to November 6, 2016.
Meanwhile, the seedings for the draw for the U-16 women’s competition will be based on the rankings in the 2015 edition also held in China.
Again, the top four teams from the last edition – DPR Korea, Japan, China and Thailand – have directly qualified for the finals.
The teams playing in the qualifiers are Korea Republic, Uzbekistan, Iran, Chinese Taipei, Australia, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh (hosts), Vietnam (hosts), the Philippines, Jordan, Hong Kong, the UAE, Guam, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Northern Mariana Islands, Pakistan, Palestine, Singapore.
Thailand have expressed their interest in participating in the qualifiers and will host one group, therefore, they will also be included among the teams that will participate in the qualifiers.
Based on the total number of 24 teams in the qualifiers, including Thailand, there will be four groups of six teams and each group will play a one-round league in a centralised venue.
The winner from each group (total four teams) will qualify to the finals (eight teams total) and in case Thailand finish top of their group in the qualifiers, the second-placed team from the same group will also qualify to the final competition.
The Member Associations who have expressed their interest to host the qualifiers will be drawn into separate groups also.
The qualifiers will be played from August 27 to September 4, 2016.
The draw for the U-16 competition will be held at 3pm (local time) while the U-19 daw is an hour later.