Lahore, 30 March: Pakistan will make attempt to earn slot in UAE’s 15th World U17 Cup 2013 when they will face Asian teams in 15th AFC U16 Championship this year. The players born on or after 1 January 1996 will be eligible to play in the event, slated to run from 10-25 September 2011. North Korea will defend title in Asian Youth beating Uzbekistan 2-0 in last edition final on 7 November 2010 at Pakhtakor Stadium, Tashkent
Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat has asked Operation Wing to call as many teams as they could from 8th National U16 Championship (1-15 May) to get the abundance of talented players of required age-limit for coming 15th AFC U16 Championship.
The AFC U16 Championship has been the launching pad for many of football’ present stars including Muhammad Ahmed, Abbas Ali, Ahsan Ullah, Fahad Ullah Khan who joined National team after playing in 2005 edition. The 2007 edition produced players like Faisal Iqbal, Muhammad Adil, Saqib Hanif while KPT’s first choice keeper Ehsan Ullah for PPFL is product of 2009 edition.
The AFC U16 show – which is held every two years – also acts as a qualifying tournament for the FIFA U17 World Cup at which the Asia is given four berths. Founded as the FIFA U16 World Championship, later changed to the FIFA U17 World Championship and known by its current name since 2007, is the world championship for male players under the age of 17 organized by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). In the 13 tournaments held so far, Brazil and Nigeria are the most successful nations in the tournament’s history with three wins each. Ghana has won the tournament twice. Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia, France, Mexico, Switzerland won the title once.
With the late inclusion of Cambodia, total 40 teams have entered the fray for 15th AFC U16 Championship and have been divided into two zones – West (22) and East (18).
The teams will be divided into seven groups of six and five teams each. West Zone will have two groups of six and two of five teams while East will have three groups of six teams each. Top two teams from each of the groups and third best team from West and East zones will qualify for the tournament proper.
TEAMS AND ZONES
West by ranking
1. Uzbekistan, 2. UAE, 3. Syria, 4. Iraq, 5. Iran, 6. Kuwait, 7. Tajikistan, 8. Oman, 9. Saudi Arabia, 10. Bahrain, 11. Yemen, 12. Bangladesh, 13. Qatar, 14. Nepal, 15. Kyrgyzstan, 16. Pakistan, 17. India, 18. Afghanistan, 19. Lebanon, 20. Palestine, 21. Maldives, 22. Sri Lanka.
East by ranking
1. DPR Korea, 2. Australia, 3. Japan, 4. Indonesia, 5. Vietnam, 6. China, 7. Timor Leste, 8. Chinese Taipei, 9. Thailand, 10. Laos, 11. Hong Kong, 12. Singapore, 13. Korea Republic, 14. Myanmar, 15. Malaysia, 16. Guam, 17. Cambodia, 18. Macau.