Dubai Saturday March 18, 2017: The UAE U-23 national team have been drawn in Group-D alongside Uzbekistan, Lebanon and Nepal in the AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers set to be staged from July 19 to 22, 2017. UAE will play host to Group-D matches.
The ten group winners and five best second-placed teams among all the groups will advance to the finals. The qualifiers will take place from July 19 to 23, 2017 in the respective host countries which are Kyrgyz Republic, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Myanmar, DPR Korea, Thailand and China PR.
Although directly qualified as the finals host, China PR have expressed interest to participate in the qualifying stage. Therefore, if China PR finish top of their group or finish among the five best second-placed teams, the next (sixth) second-placed team will qualify to the final stage of the competition in January, 2018.
The UAE head coach Ebrahim Al Nimr commented: “The draw was balanced. All teams have equal chances to advance forward and those who are looking forward to claim any spot in the finals should beat the other opponents. Help yourself by yourself.”
“We need to improve over current form by working harder and stick to the buildup process. We do not have too much time remaining before the qualifiers kick off. The players will reunite with their respective clubs after the international tourney to take part in the local competitions including the President Cup finals in May,” he said.
“The draw was fair, but we need to prepare ourselves. There are two international tourneys in Dubai from Monday and the second one in Doha immediately before the qualifiers and the two events represent a god preparation for us,” he said.
“Our ultimate goal is to qualify for Tokyo Summer Games via China AFC U-23 Championship,” he said.
Meanwhile, eng. Marwan Bin Ghalita, Chairman of the UAEFA accompanied by Ibrahim Al Nimr, acting secretary general of the UAEFA, have attended the workout at the Zeyab Awana grounds.