Palestine youth teams learn opponents for upcoming qualifying campaigns

AFC Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur- site of Friday’s draw

This past week the Asian Football Confederations conducted draws for the qualifying rounds of the U16 and U19 championship.

Palestine last forays in these tournaments saw them host the qualifying group stage. While the U16 team underwhelmed following a late meltdown in their opening game vs. Yemen the U19 team missed out on a spot in the finals by virtue of goal differential.

Palestine’s youngsters will face only three teams after being placed in one of the groups of four in the West Zone of qualifying for the U16 AFC Championship.

Their opponents in Group D are Iraq- who will be odds on favorites to win the group, India, and Nepal. All opponents have appeared at a U-16 championship before. Iraq have nine appearances to their name and are the current holders, India have been seven times, while Nepal have managed three appearances.

Palestine have yet to qualify for the tournament.

Nepal, the lowest ranked team will host the group meaning Palestine will have to deal with subpar pitches and altitude issues in order to navigate a path to the finals.

To qualify Palestine must either win their group or finish as one of the five best runner ups. There is an outside chance that they could qualify as a sixth best runner up as the AFC has yet to determine the host of the tourney. Should the host be among the qualifying nations an extra slot would open up.

Dates of the games are as follows:

AFC U16 Championship Qualifying
September 20th, 2017 Palestine vs. India
September 22nd, 2017 Palestine vs. Iraq
September 24th, 2017 Palestine vs. Nepal

The U-19 team face a more daunting task having been drawn alongside Iran, Jordan, and Syria. Iran will host the group and are almost entirely assured of three wins en route to a 21st appearance at the tournament. Syria and Jordan have competed 10 and six time respectively at the finals but have missed out on the last two editions. 

Like the U16 team. The U19 team have never participated at the AFC Championship Finals. 

Dates of the games are as follows: 

U19 Championship Qualifying
November 4th, 2017 Palestine vs. Jordan
November 6th, 2017 Palestine vs. Syria 
November 8th, 2017 Palestine vs. Iran

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