The official draw for the AFC U16 Championship 2018 qualifiers took place at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Some 45 Member Associations from across Asia discovered their opponents for the upcoming AFC U16 Championship 2018 qualifiers.
45 Member Associations were divided into two zones of WEST (West, South and Central) with 23 teams and EAST (East and ASEAN) with 22 teams. Both zones have a total of five groups.
Teams in each zone were placed in five (5) seeding pots based on the rankings of the AFC U16 Championship India 2016. Teams that did not participate in the 2016 edition were added but as the lowest-ranked sides. The host nations for the qualifiers were drawn into separate groups.
The teams were drawn into five (5) groups of five (5) teams and five (5) groups of four (4) teams.
Sri Lanka who will be participating for the 1st time in the tournament was drawn in Group A alongside Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain. Uzbekistan was placed 5th in the 2016 AFC U16 Championship while Saudi Arabia was placed 11th.
Defending champions Iraq, have been grouped with India, Palestine and Nepal who will host the qualifiers in Group D, while the Islamic Republic of Iran – last year’s runners-up – is scheduled to meet Kyrgyz Republic, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Bhutan in Group C.
Elsewhere, two-time champions and 2016 semi-finalists DPR Korea, will face Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Macau and Brunei Darussalam in Group F, with Japan, who also reached last year’s semi-finals drawn in Group J, along with Singapore, Malaysia and Guam.
The ten (10) group winners and five (5) best second-placed teams will advance to the final stage of the tournament, along with the host Member Association. The AFC U16 Championship 2018 qualifiers are set to take place from September 16 to 24, 2017.
Group A – Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia (Host for qualifiers), Jordan, Bahrain, Sri Lanka
Group B – Oman, Tajikistan (Host for qualifiers), Syria, Turkmenistan, Maldives
Group C – Islamic Republic of Iran (Host for qualifiers), Kyrgyz Republic, Afghanistan,Lebanon,Bhutan
Group D – Iraq, India, Palestine, Nepal (Host for qualifiers)
Group E – United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Qatar (Host for qualifiers), Bangladesh
Group F – DPR Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Macau, Brunei Darussalam
Group G – Thailand (Host for qualifiers), Laos, Timor-Leste, Northern Mariana Islands,Indonesia
Group H – Korea Republic, China PR, Myanmar, Philippines
Group I – Vietnam, Australia, Mongolia (Host for qualifiers), Cambodia
Group J – Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Guam