AFC announces new tournament for lowest-ranked sides

AFC announces new tournament for lowest-ranked sides

The AFC Competitions Committee met in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 12 April 2016, and announced various decisions relation to AFC tournaments like AFC Champions League and AFC Cup. It also announced a new international tournament for its 8 lowest ranked teams replacing the old AFC Challenge Cup.

Pakistan is also currently among 8 lowest ranked AFC teams due to no international football since getting knocked out by Yemen in March 2015  in 1st round of AFC joint qualifiers for 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

Also, due to the political crisis in PFF, Pakistan has been unable to participate in various AFC youth tournaments and also withdrew from 2015 SAFF Suzuki Cup. It remains to be seen if PFF crisis can be resolved soon by FIFA/AFC.

The official AFC website states:

A new AFC international competition, to replace the AFC Challenge Cup, has been proposed to take place in November 2016 and September 2020 for the continent’s lowest-ranked teams who have little opportunity to organise international friendly matches.

Nepal, Brunei Darussalam, Macau, Mongolia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as the two teams eliminated after the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifiers play-off, will form the participating teams for the 2016 competition.

The 14-day tournament will be played between the eight teams at a centralised venue, providing not only a minimum of three matches, but also including coaching, refereeing, technical and event management education courses.