Philippines booters draw tough Japanese in AFC U-23

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - March 19, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines faces an extremely difficult mission in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship 2018 Qualifiers as it got powerhouse Japan as groupmate during yesterday’s draw in Kuala Lumpur.

The Pinoy U-23 booters found themselves in the same group as the Japanese, the defending champions and No. 1 seed in the East Zone, in Group J with two other tough rivals joining them, the host Chinese and the higher-seeded Cambodians.

Only the group winner and the five best second-placed teams among the 10 groups in the July 19-23 qualifying tournament will earn a ticket to the 2018 AFC U-23 tournament in China.

According to the AFC, the Chinese are already qualified to the main tourney as hosts so if they win Group J or land in the five best second-placers in the qualifiers, the next best team will advance to the finals.

Other groups in the East Zone see Korea, the runner-up in the 2016, leading Group I with Vietnam, Timor Leste and Macau; Thailand bannering Group H with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Mongolia; North Korea heading Group G with Laos, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong; and Australia towing Myanmar, Singapore and Brunei in Group F.

Iran, the top-seeded team in the West Zone, is bunched with Oman, Kyrgyz Republic and Sri Lanka in Group A while 2016 bronze medalist Iraq is with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Afghanistan in Group B. Qatar, Syria, India and Turkmenistan make up Group C as Jordan, Tajikistan, Palestine and Bangladesh comprise Group D, and UAE, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, and Nepal are in Group D.

In the 2015 AFC U-23 qualifiers in Bangkok, Phl U-23 dropped all its Group matches to North Korea (0-4), Thailand (1-5), and Cambodia (1-3) to bow out.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with