India drawn alongside Myanmar, Chinese Taipei & Guam in AFC Challenge Cup 2014 qualifiers
The India national football team have been handed a tricky draw in the AFC Challenge Cup 2014 qualifiers as they have been placed in the same group as Myanmar, Chinese Taipei and Guam with the matches to be played in Myanmar.
The draw took place in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday with 20 nations being drawn into five groups of four. The group winners and two best second-placed teams will join hosts Maldives for the final rounds of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, the winner of which will get an automatic berth in 2015 Asian Cup.
India will play their matches on March 2, 4 and 6 2013 and will be aiming to qualify as group winners like they did during the 2012 AFC Challenge qualifiers when they topped a group that had Turkmenistan, Chinese Taipei and Pakistan.
Myanmar, the host team of the group, is also the highest ranked team among the four nations as they are placed 156th, 13 spots above India. Chinese Taipei are ranked 176th and Guam are placed at 181.
India’s last match in Myanmar was at U-23 level in the Olympic qualifiers with CS Sabeeth scoring a late equaliser to take India to the next round.
There will be a preparatory camp before these qualifiers with the I-League having a break between February 10 and March 23.
Group A – Hosts Myanmar
Myanmar, India, Chinese Taipei, Guam
Group B – Hosts Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Macau
Group C – Hosts Laos
Laos, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Mongolia
Group D – Hosts Nepal
Nepal, Palestine, Bangladesh, Northern Mariana Islands
Group E – Hosts Philippines
Philippines, Turkmenistan, Cambodia, Brunei
Matches will be played on March 2, 4 and 6 with the exception of Group B where the games will be played on March 17, 19 and 21.