Asia’s rising stars will discover their opponents on Friday as the attention shifts towards the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 Qualifiers Draw in Tashkent, Uzbekistan at 12:00pm (+5 GMT) local time.
With the anticipation building up, the stage is set for the 42 Member Associations who will be competing from October 23 to 31, 2021 for the 15 positions up for grabs to join host Uzbekistan ahead of the fifth edition of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup in 2022, which will be staged in the Central Zone for the first time in Asian football history.
The draw will divide the teams into two Regions – the West Region comprising 23 West, South and Central Participating Teams as well as the East Region, which will consist of 19 East and ASEAN Participating Teams.
The West Region will comprise six groups in total – five groups of four teams and one group of three teams – while the East Region is set to feature four groups of four teams and one group of three teams, with the 11 group winners and four best second-placed teams sealing their qualification to the Finals.
The West Region hosts – Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates – as well as the East Region hosts – Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Mongolia and Singapore – will be placed in a host pot and be drawn into separate groups based on their positions in their ranking pot.
Teams have been seeded according to their ranking at the AFC U-23 Championship Thailand 2020 and Pot 1 of the West Region will consist of two-time finalist Saudi Arabia, Syria, Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq while Oman, Palestine and Bangladesh will take their places in Pot 2.
Pot 3 of the West Region will contain Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, India, Lebanon and Yemen with the final pot comprising Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka as well as 2022 host Uzbekistan, whose matches will not be taken into account when calculating the group ranking and best positioned teams among all the groups.
Defending champions Korea Republic, Australia, DPR Korea, 2020 hosts Thailand and 2018 finalist Vietnam will occupy Pot 1 in the East Region, with 2016 champions Japan, China PR, Malaysia and Myanmar taking their spots in Pot 2. Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia and Timor-Leste will be placed in Pot 3 with Philippines and Brunei Darussalam completing the line-up of teams in the final East Region pot.
(Asian Football Confederation)