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India clubbed with UAE, Maldives, China in AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers

IANS | May 25, 2023 03:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: India U-23 men's football team is drawn with United Arab Emirates, Maldives and China PR in Group G of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Qualifiers after the official draw held at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) House, here on Thursday.

Group G of the Qualifiers will be hosted by China between September 6-12.

Group A of the Qualifiers, to be played from September 4 to 12 this year, will have hosts Jordan, Syria, Oman and Brunei Darussalam vying for the sole automatic ticket to the Finals.

Group B will see 2020 champions Korea Republic (Host), Myanmar, Kyrgyz Republic and Qatar contesting with Vietnam (H), Singapore, Yemen and Guam in the Group C cast.

Japan, the 2016 champions, are the top seeds in Group D with Bahrain (H), Palestine and Pakistan as their challengers while 2018 champions Uzbekistan (Host), the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hong Kong, China and Afghanistan were drawn in Group E.

Group F will see 2013 winners Iraq, Kuwait (Host), Timor-Leste and Macau doing battle with United Arab Emirates, India, Maldives and hosts China PR and the Group G teams.

Hosts Thailand lead Group H with Malaysia, Bangladesh and Philippines also aiming for a place in the Finals while Group I will see Australia, Tajikistan (Host), Laos and DPR Korea locking horns.

Defending champions Saudi Arabia (H), Cambodia, Lebanon and Mongolia were drawn in Group J while the three-team Group K will be a tussle between Turkmenistan, Indonesia (Host) and Chinese Taipei.

The draw saw 43 teams divided into 10 groups of four and one group of three. Each group will be played at a centralised venue in a single round-robin format, with the 11 group winners and four best second-placed teams qualifying for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024.

They will join Qatar, who have received automatic qualification as hosts, to form the final cast of 16 at the tournament, to be played between April 15 to May 3, 2024.

The AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qatar will also serve as a qualifier for the men's Olympic football tournament in Paris 2024. The top three teams will directly qualify for the Olympic Games as the AFC representatives, while the fourth-best team will play in the AFC-CAF Play-off.

AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Finals are scheduled for April 15 to May 3, 2024.

India will attempt to make it to the final tournament for the first time.

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