Bahrain set for U23 Asian Cup qualifiers
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain’s under-23 Olympic football team were yesterday drawn in a challenging Group D for the qualifiers of the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup. The draw was conducted at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) House in Kuala Lumpur.
It divided the participating teams into 11 groups, with 10 comprising four nations and one containing three. Each group will host their matches at a centralised venue. Bahrain have been drawn alongside Japan, Palestine and Pakistan.
The Kingdom will be staging the games in their qualification group, with the matches scheduled to take place from September 4 to 12 later this year. Following a single round-robin, the 11 group winners and four best second-placed teams among all groups qualify for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup.
They join tournament hosts Qatar, who have received automatic qualification, to form the final cast of 16 in the competition, to be played between April 15 and May 3, 2024. Group A of the qualifiers will have group hosts Jordan, Syria, Oman and Brunei.
Group B will see 2020 champions and group hosts South Korea, Myanmar, Kyrgyz Republic and Qatar contesting; while Group C will see group hosts Vietnam, Singapore, Yemen, and Guam. Qatar’s qualifiers will be considered as friendlies.
In Group E are 2018 champions and group hosts Uzbekistan, Iran, Hong Kong and Afghanistan; while in Group F are 2013 winners Iraq, hosts Kuwait, Timor-Leste and Macau. In Group G are the UAE, India, Maldives and group hosts China; while Group H features group hosts Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
Group I will see Australia, group hosts Tajikistan, Laos and North Korea; Group J consists of defending champions and hosts Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, Lebanon and Mongolia; and finally Group K comprises just three teams with Turkmenistan, group hosts Indonesia and Chinese Taipei. Bahrain have qualified just once in the previous five editions of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup.
That was in the 2020 event held in Thailand, when they did not make it past the group stage. The Bahrainis, coached by Croatian Dario Basic, have already begun their preparations for the qualifiers. They played a pair of international friendly matches last March against their counterparts from Estonia.