Pakistan, India in same groups in AFC women under-19, -16 events [The News]

Pakistan, India in same groups in AFC women under-19, -16 events [The News]

KARACHI: Pakistan and India were on Wednesday clubbed in the same groups in both Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Women’s Championship 2019 Qualifiers and AFC Under-16 Women’s Championship 2019 Qualifiers.

The continental body unveiled the draws for both events at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.In the 27-team AFC Under-19 Women’s Championship 2019 qualifiers, Pakistan and India will be joined in Group B by hosts Thailand, Nepal and Singapore. Japan, DPR Korea and China, who were the top three teams in the 2017 edition, received direct qualification to the 2019 Finals, the AFC said.

The qualifying campaign will consist of two rounds. Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Tajikistan and Thailand have expressed interest to host the Qualifiers, the continental body said. Australia, who missed out on third place in 2017 after a 3-0 loss to China, will face Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Lebanon and newcomers Mongolia in Group A.

Kyrgyzstan, who will host Group C, have Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, Guam and Maldives for company. In Group D, Tajikistan will play hosts to two-time champions Korea Republic, Bangladesh and Chinese Taipei, runners-up of the inaugural edition in 2002. Malaysia, who return to the AFC Under-19 Women’s Championship after a long absence — they last participated in 2006, are grouped alongside Vietnam, Jordan and Northern Mariana Islands in Group E.

Group F hosts Myanmar will be up against Iran, Palestine and tournament debutants Laos. The AFC said that the hosts and dates for the finals would be announced in due course. In the AFC Under-16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers Group B, Pakistan were bracketed with India, hosts Mongolia, Laos, and Hong Kong.

DPR Korea, Korea Republic and Japan, the top three finishers in the 2017 edition, received direct qualification to the Finals. Thirty teams from across Asia will be vying for eight spots in Round 2 of the Qualifiers, where the teams will be divided into two groups of four teams, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the Finals in 2019. Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tajikistan will play hosts to Round 1 of the Qualifiers.

Each group will play a one-round league. Sri Lanka will host Group A of the Qualifiers Round 1, alongside China, Uzbekistan, Jordan and Guam, who all have made one appearance in the Finals in previous editions.

Tournament debutants Mongolia are set to welcome Laos, India, Hong Kong and newcomers Pakistan in Group B. Thailand, hosts of the 2017 Finals, will travel to Tajikistan, alongside Iran, Northern Mariana Islands and Singapore for the Group C ties.

Australia will meet Chinese Taipei, Kyrgyzstan (hosts), Palestine and Indonesia

in Group D. Group E hosts Nepal are grouped with Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia and Syria.

In Group F, Vietnam, the UAE, Bahrain and Lebanon will travel to Bangladesh.

The Qualifiers Round 1 will be played from September 15 to 23, 2018.

The Qualifiers Round 2 will be held from February 23 to March 3, 2019.

The dates and hosts for the Finals would be announced in due course, the AFC said.

Published in The News, 31 May 2018