TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia gets a tough group comprising of Thailand, Malaysia, and Mongolia following the draw for the qualifying rounds of Asia U-23 Championship 2018 in China.
“Hopefully, I’m optimistic the Garuda players will be more ready compared to the previous [years],” the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) chairman Edy Rahmayadi told Tempo yesterday, March 19, via a text message.
Edy is confident because the U-22 national team has been progressing nicely since Spanish coach Luis Milla Aspas took the helm.
Aspas has called up 26 players to attend a training camp in Karawaci, Tangerang, ahead of a friendly match with Myanmar at Pakansari Stadium tomorrow.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has held a draw for the Asia U-23 Championship qualifiers. Forty countries have been divided into 10 groups.
The groups were split into West and East zones. Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries are in the East zone. Indonesia was named as the eighth seed in the zone, according to the AFC website.
In the draw, Indonesia was placed in pot 2 together with China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos. Indonesia gets group H with Thailand, Malaysia, and Mongolia. The qualifiers will be held in Thailand on July 19-23.
The rules say that only 16 countries will progress to the final rounds. A spot in the final rounds has been given to host nation China. China, however, has asked to be included in the qualifying rounds.
As such, only the teams topping the group and the runners-up, as well as the best third-placed team, would qualify. The system is chosen to meet the quota of 16 teams to compete in the final rounds.
Below is the full result of the Asia U-23 Championship 2018 draw.
West Asia Zone
Group A: Iran, Oman, Kyrgyzstan, Sri LankaGroup B: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, AfghanistanGroup C: Qatar, Syria, India, TurkmenistanGroup D: United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, NepalGroup E: Jordan, Tajikistan, Palestine, Bangladesh
East Asia Zone
Group F: Australia, Myanmar, Singapore, Brunei Group G: North Korea, Laos, Chinese Taipei, Hong KongGroup H: Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, MongoliaGroup I: South Korea, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, MacauGroup J: Japan, China, Cambodia, the Philippines. INDRA WIJAYA