The final cast of the 2023 AFC U-17 Asian Cup will be determined when Asia’s future stars showcase their talent at the Qualifiers which will kick off in ten centralised venues across the Continent on Saturday, October 1, 2022.
Formerly known as the AFC U-16 Championship before the rebrand, the AFC U-17 Asian Cup will mark the return of U17 competition in Asia following the last edition which was played in 2006.
Divided into five groups of four, four groups of five, and one group of three, the Qualifiers will feature 43 Member Associations (MAs) vying for 16 available seats – 10 group winners and six best runners-up who will battle for the coveted AFC U-17 Asian Cup trophy next year.
The Qualifiers will kick off on October 1 at 4:30pm when a Group A clash between Turkmenistan and Philippines sets the ball rolling at the Prince Mohammad Stadium in Amman while hosts Jordan take on Syria at 9pm on the same day.
Meanwhile, defending champions Japan, aiming to win the title for a record fourth time, will embark on their qualification journey on October 3 against the Philippines.
Group B action will see Palestine face Malaysia at the Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, Indonesia, at 4pm while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Guam lock horns four hours later before hosts Indonesia begin their qualification campaign against Guam on October 3.
Three former champions, Oman, Iraq, and Qatar have been pitted against each other in Group C where they are joined by Lebanon and Bahrain.
Matches in this group will start with a face-off between Qatar and Iraq at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman, at 5pm. Bahrain and Lebanon are set to square off later in the day while the hosts begin their campaign in two days’ time against Lebanon.
In Group D, Kuwait will begin their qualification quest against Maldives at 6:15pm while two-time champions and hosts Saudi Arabia face Myanmar at 9:30pm. Meanwhile, India will take on Maldives two days later with all three matches scheduled to be played at the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Sport City in Khobar.
Hosted at the Bir Sherestha Shaheed Shipahi Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Dhaka, matches in Group E, comprising Yemen, Bhutan, Singapore, and hosts Bangladesh, will start on October 5 with Yemen and Bhutan taking the stage first at 4pm, followed by the hosts against Singapore at 7pm.
Simultaneously, Thailand’s showdown against Nepal will launch the Group F matches at the Viet Tri Stadium at 4pm, which will make way for hosts Vietnam battling Chinese Taipei later in the evening.
Two-time champions China have been drawn in Group G, where they will be joined by the Northern Mariana Islands, Cambodia, and hosts, Australia with the Group’s first match between China and Cambodia at 3pm after which the Northern Mariana Islands and Australia square off at the Shepparton Sports City Precinct.
Meanwhile, following Timor-Leste’s withdrawal, the Group H matches will now comprise only three teams which will start with a duel between Central Asian hosts Tajikistan and Mongolia on October 5 at the Republican Central Stadium in the capital city of Dushanbe while Afghanistan are set to square off against Mongolia on October 7. All matches in this group will kick off at 8pm.
Teams in Group I will begin their bouts at the Dolon Omurzakov Stadium in Bishkek, where Iran will play Laos at 3pm before the Kyrgyz Republic face Hong Kong.
Finally in Group J, Sri Lanka and Brunei Darussalam join former champions South Korea and Uzbekistan. Sri Lanka will face the test of Korea Republic in their opening match at the Pakhtakor Stadium in Tashkent at 4pm while Brunei Darussalam will aim to fend off Uzbekistan on their home turf at the JAR stadium.