2018 AFC U-16 Championship qualification kicks off on Saturday

2018 AFC U-16 Championship will kick off on Saturday as 44 teams enter the qualification stage.

44 teams have been divided into two zones of West with 23 teams and East with 22 teams. Both zones will have a total of five groups.

Defending champions Iraq have been grouped with India, Palestine and Nepal who will host the qualifiers in Group D, while last year’s runners-up Iran are scheduled to meet Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Bhutan in Group C.

A total of 16 teams qualify to play in the final tournament, including Malaysia who qualified automatically as hosts. The top four teams of the tournament will qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup as the AFC representatives.