17 January 2017

The list has finally come out

Last weekend the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed all participants that will play in the preliminary stage for the 2019 Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates. Right to participate have 24 teams and only half of them will go through to the finals.
- Kuwait, which is still suspended by FIFA, will definitely miss these qualifiers, together with Guam who withdraws from the competition. As 24 teams are needed for the draw the AFC has decided to invite two 'newcomers' to the event, proper replacements for the above two. Those teams are quickly found from another AFC competition - Solidarity Cup which was played in Malaysia last year. Champions Nepal is Guam's replacement, while runner up Macau has been called instead of Kuwait.
- Fourteen members has been qualified through the joint second round for World Cup preliminary process in Russia: North Korea, Jordan, Oman, Lebanon, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Hong Kong, Turkmenistan, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar, Bahrain and Afghanistan.
- Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Yemen comes as winners from the first play off games.
- Losing sides from the first play off got final chance who played against each other in the second one, and this time three have passed: Bhutan, Chinese Taipei and Maldives.
Adding those up we came up to the number 24. For the final preliminaries phase there will be formed 6 groups with 4 teams each and they will last exactly one year, starting from 28 March. It was announced that the draw will be right after the second play off matches, which was delayed for 18 January, and the final date has been now rescheduled for 23 January in Abu Dhabi, just two months before the start of the qualifying campaign.


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