Pakistan U-23 will not compete in the AFC U-23 Championship qualifications, the nation’s football federation announced yesterday.
Pakistan Football Federation has confirmed their U-23 team won’t be taking part in the qualifiers for 2018 U-23 Championship due to the complication of politics and offered no further explanation.
This is not the first time Pakistan withdraw from a continental tournament, as their senior team withdrew three times from Asian Cup in 1956, 1964 and 1976, and most recently from SAFF Championship in 2015.
The draw for 2018 U-23 Championship Qualifiers will take place at AFC House in the Malaysian capital today/
The qualifying stage will consist of 40 teams, to be divided into 10 centralized groups of four teams. The 10 group winners and five best second-placed teams among all the groups will advance to the finals. The qualifiers will take place on July 19 to 23, 2017.
Although directly qualified as the host, China PR have expressed interest to participate in the qualifying stage. Therefore, if China finish top of their group or finish among the five best second-placed teams, the next (6th) second-placed team will qualify for the final competition.
The seedings for the draw will be based on the rankings of the AFC U-23 Championship Qatar 2016. The host Member Associations will be drawn into separate groups.
The 40 Member Associations will be divided into two zones – West (West, South & Central) and East (East & ASEAN)