March 17, 2017 06:32 PM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 17: Nepal is set to begin its AFC U23 2018 qualifiers taking on United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first group-stage match on July 19. Nepal was drawn in the group D alongside host UAE, Uzbekistan and Lebanon.
Similarly, Nepal will face Uzbekistan and Lebanon on July 21 and 23 respectively in the remaining qualifiers' matches for the age group tournament to be held in China next year.
Altogether 40 member associations of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) are divided into 10 groups with four teams in each group. The winners of the each group will qualify for the final rounds of the tournament while five best runner-ups will also book their tickets for the final round.
Although directly qualified as the host, China has expressed interest to participate in the qualifying stage. Therefore, if China finishes on the top of their group in qualifying round or finishes among the five best second-placed teams, the sixth best runner-up team will qualify to the finals.