The Blue Tigers will face UAE, Oman and the Kyrgyz Republic qualifiers.

The draw for 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers was completed on Friday. The age-group competition will be held in Uzbekistan as China could not host the tournament due to scheduling issues and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indian fans were eagerly waiting to see which opponents the Indian football team will face. As it happened, India will contest teams like UAE U-23, Oman U-23 and Kyrgyz Republic U-23 in Group E of the West Zone of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers. The aim will be to secure qualification for the main tournament to be held in 2021. The group winners will qualify for the final competition in Uzbekistan and four best second-placed teams will join them.

India have never qualified for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup in their history. The closest they came to qualify for the tournament was in 2013, when they finished at the fourth place in qualification Group A, behind Iraq, UAE and Oman with seven points.

The Indian football team had won two games, against Lebanon and Turkmenistan, during the AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers in 2013. Apart from those two wins, the Blue Tigers have been able to win only one game in the next three editions of qualifying rounds, beating Turkmenistan in 2017.

The draw divided the teams into two Regions – the West Region comprising 23 West, South and Central Participating Teams as well as the East Region, which consists of 19 East and ASEAN Participating Teams. The Qualifiers are scheduled for October 23 to 31, 2021 with the 11 group winners and four best second-placed teams sealing their qualification to the finals.

Results of Uzbekistan, who have already qualified for the tournament for being the host, will not be counted in the Group D standings.

Here is the full draw of the West zone.

West Zone

Group A

Syria, Qatar, Yemen, Sri Lanka

Group B

Iran, Tajikistan, Lebanon, Nepal

Group C

Iraq, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Maldives.

Group D

Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Uzbekistan.]

Group E

United Arab Emirates, Oman, India, Kyrgyz Republic.

Group F

Jordan, Palestine, Turkmenistan.

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