India will face South Asian neighbours Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bahrain in Group A of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s Olympic Football Tournament 2016 in Brazil. The draw ceremony took place at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday.
The recently crowned SAFF Champions will open their account against Bahrain on March 11 next year followed by matches against Sri Lanka, whom they beat 5-0 in the just concluded SAFF Championship semifinal on March 17 and Myanmar two days later.
Group B consists of Uzbekistan, Jordan, Hong Kong and Palestine while Group C will see Chinese Taipei, Iran and Laos vying for a spot in the next qualification round.
The seeding for the draw was based on the FIFA Women’s World Rankings at the time of the draw which was carried out for nations ranked eighth through to 18th.
In Round 1, each group will play a one-round robin league at a centralised venue and the winners from each group (total three teams) will advance to Qualification Round 2.
The teams ranked sixth and seventh, Thailand and Vietnam respectively, automatically participate in Qualification Round 2 and will be joined by the three group winners from Round 1.
Teams ranked in the top five – Japan (1st), Australia (2nd), DPR Korea (3rd), China (4th) and Korea Republic (5th) – are the automatic contenders in the Qualification Final Round where they will be joined by the winner from Round 2.
The top two finishers from Qualification Final Round will fly the Asian flag at the Summer Olympics women’s football tournament.
(Report courtesy AIFF Media / Picture courtesy AFC)