Indian Football News: Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are India's opponents at AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers
The draws for the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers and AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers were out on Thursday. India were pooled alongside tough Asian sides Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan in the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers, which will be held in Saudi Arabia this year from November 2-10.
Meanwhile, the Indian U-16 National Team has been drawn in Group B of the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers 2020 alongside hosts Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Turkmenistan for the qualifiers that are slated to kick-off from September 18-22, 2019.
The Indian U-16 National Team had grabbed eye balls in the AFC U-16 Championship 2018 and were one match away from securing qualification to the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019, under Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes, but lost by a narrow margin of 1-0 against Korea Republic in the Quarter-finals.
The Indian U-16s had won 0-1 against Vietnam and played two goalless draws against Islamic Republic of Iran and Indonesia respectively in the group stage to set up the clash with Korea Republic.
Meanwhile, the top spot in the respective groups will earn direct qualification, while the four best second-placed teams will also advance to the 2020 Finals from the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers.
Should the hosts for the Finals finish either top of their group or among the best four second-placed teams, the next (5th) second-placed team in the ranking among all groups will qualify instead.
Players from the squad had recently participated in the MU-15 Tournament in Italy, where they played top sides like USA, Mexico and Slovenia. India lost to USA and Mexico but drew 2-2 with Slovenia.
In another exposure tour, India played Qatar and managed to beat them 1-0 with Sridarth scoring the only goal of the game. Sridarth, incidentally, scored the brace that helped India draw with Slovenia.
GROUP B: India, Uzbekistan (H), Bahrain, Turkmenistan.