AFC U-16 Championship 2020: India handed tough group in qualifiers
by Shubham Sharma
Kuala Lumpur: India U-16 football 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 previous India U-16 batch had an impressive outing in the AFC U-16 Championship 2018 and narrowly missed out from securing qualification to the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019, under Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes, but losing 1-0 to South Korea in the Quarter-finals.
The Indian U-16s had won 0-1 against Vietnam and played two goalless draws against Iran and Indonesia respectively in the group stage to set up the clash with South Korea.
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.
Bibiano Fernandes has replaced Shuvendu Panda as the head coach of India U-15 after string of poor performances by the team and the former is set to rebuild the squad for the tournament.
GROUP B: India, Uzbekistan (H), Bahrain, Turkmenistan.