The two tournaments will be held in 2023 in Bahrain and Uzbekistan respectively.

Asian football’s brightest young talents will discover their opponents when the official qualifier draws for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup Bahrain 2023™ and AFC U-20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023™ are staged in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (May 24) at 2 pm and 4 pm (GMT+8) respectively.

The back-to-back events mark the full-scale return of elite men’s youth football in Asia since 2018 as Asia’s young talents aim to emulate stars like Iranian Sardar Azmoun, Takumi Minamino from Japan and Qatar’s Akram Afif, who broke through the ranks in the AFC’s age-group competitions. 

Tuesday’s AFC draws will usher in a new era, with the U-17 and U-20 replacing the U16 and U19 competitions respectively. The Qualifiers for both competitions will also be organised without the zoning principle, as per the decision of the AFC Competitions Committee.

The AFC U-17 Asian Cup Bahrain 2023™ Qualifiers draw will divide 44 participating Member Associations (MAs) into 10 centralised qualifying groups, six of which will feature four teams, while four groups will include five teams when the Qualifiers take place from October 1 to 9, 2022.

A total of 10 Host Associations – Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam – will be placed in the Host Pot and drawn first.

Meanwhile, the other participating MAs will be allocated based on the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 rankings with Japan, Korea Republic, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Yemen and Thailand occupying Pot 1 followed by Iraq, Malaysia, Afghanistan, China PR, Hong Kong and Brunei Darussalam in Pot 2.

Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Qatar, Palestine, Syria, Singapore, Chinese Taipei and Nepal will be drawn from Pot 3 while Lebanon, Laos, Philippines, Mongolia, Maldives, Guam, Bhutan, Macau, Sri Lanka and Northern Marina Islands will have their names pulled out from Pot 4. Pot 5 will include Kuwait, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Similarly, 44 teams will be allocated to six groups of four teams and four groups of five in the AFC U-20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023™ Qualifiers draw based on their AFC U-19 Championship Indonesia 2018 ranking.

Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Mongolia, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan, who will host the Qualifiers from September 10 to 18, 2022, will occupy the Host Pot followed by Korea Republic, Qatar, Japan, Thailand, Australia and UAE in Pot 1.

Pot 2 will include China PR, Malaysia, Vietnam, Chinese Taipei, IR Iran, Yemen and Syria while Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Lebanon, Macau, Hong Kong, Philippines and Palestine occupy Pot 3.

Turkmenistan, Singapore, Timor-Leste, Maldives, Brunei Darussalam, Sri Lanka and Nepal are allocated in Pot 4 while Afghanistan, Bhutan, Guam, Kuwait, the Northern Mariana Islands and Uzbekistan sit in Pot 5.

The 10 group winners, along with the five best runners-up in both Qualifiers will advance to the AFC U-17 Asian Cup Bahrain 2023™ and U-20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023™.

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