RE - Pakistan will take on formidable Central Asian Uzbekistan in Group-A of the 14th Asian U16 Football Championship. It will be first-ever clash between two teams in international arena.
Pakistan will also take on tough Arabian nations Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, as well as South Asian neighbors Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in the qualification campaign, scheduled to run from 3 - 18 October 2009, with the group venues to be confirmed at a later date. It will also be attempt of 45 Asian nations including Pakistan to earn slot in Mexico's 14th World U17 Cup 2011 when they will appear in Qualifiers. The players born on or after 1 January 1993 will be eligible to play in the qualifiers.
With the presence of Inaugural AFC U-16 champions Saudi Arabia in 1985 and 2008 tournament hosts Uzbekistan and Kuwait, Pakistan will have an uphill task to finish among top two in group, said Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)'s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat who has asked Operation Wing to call as many teams as they could for coming National U16 Championship to get the abundance of talented players of required age-limit. "The AFC U16 Championship was set up to provide another tier of competitive international football in Asia with the aim of developing young playing talent in the region. Pakistan is comprises of fine footballers at grass-root level and players who represented U13, U14 teams from 2004 to 2008 will soon be part of U16 teams. We put up fine display in
The 13th AFC U16 Championship 2007 at Qatar's Al Arabi Stadium and Qatar Sports Club beating Kazakhstan 4-2, and drawing 0-0 with Oman and restricted Qatar, Yemen to 0-1 scoreline : the three Arabian nations whose national game is soccer, "said Faisal who added that Pakistan also got the honor of playing the Asian finals at Al Shabab Stadium, Dubai seven years ago.
Holders Iran, who defeated Korea Rep 2 - 1 at Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor Stadium to win 13th edition last year, have been drawn in Group B with Bahrain, Lebanon, Nepal, Tajikistan and the Maldives while Korea Republic, who were denied a third title after going down 2-1 to the Iranians in Tashkent last October, will once again come face-to-face with their northern neighbours in international competition.
The two Koreas find themselves in Group G which brings them up against the ASEAN quartet of Thailand, the only South East Asian nation to have won the AFC U-16s, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Qatar, who have also won the tournament once despite reaching the final for a record six times, were drawn in Group C along with Syria, Yemen, Palestine Iraq and Bhutan while UAE and Oman, champions in 1996 and 2000, are in Group D with India, Turkmenistan, Jordan and Kyrgyzstan.
Two-time winners China are also taking on their neighbours Hong Kong and Macau with Singapore, Guam and Timor Leste completing the Group F line up. Japan's quest to become the first nation to claim the AFC U16 Championship for a third time begins again when the 1994 and 2006 winners come up against Indonesia, Mongolia, Chinese Taipei, Bangladesh and the Philippines in qualification Group E.
The winner and runner-up of each of the seven six-team groups as well as the best third-place side overall will advance to the 2010 AFC U16 Championship finals along with the country that emerges victorious from the trio contesting Group H, namely Australia, Laos and Malaysia.
The Championship - Grouping
Group A: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan.
Group B: Iran, Bahrain, Lebanon, Nepal, Tajikistan, Maldives.
Group C: Syria, Yemen, Qatar, Palestine, Iraq, Bhutan.
Group D: UAE, India, Turkmenistan, Oman, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan.
Group E: Japan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Chinese Taipei, Bangladesh, Philippines.
Group F: China, Singapore, Guam, Hong Kong, Macau, Timor Leste.
Group G: Korea Republic, Thailand, Vietnam, DPR Korea, Cambodia, Myanmar.
Group H: Australia, Malaysia, Laos.