AFC U-22 Asian Cup Qualifiers draw: Malaysia to face Korea Republic and Vietnam in comfortable six-team group

Malaysia have been drawn in a relatively easy Group G with predominantly South East Asian teams
The draw for the brand new AFC U-22 Asian Cup Qualifiers was held on Tuesday afternoon in Kuala Lumpur at AFC's headquarters.

A total of 41 Asian member associations entered the draw with the seedings for the draw based on the rankings of the AFC U-19 Championship in 2010.

Eight nations who did not participate in the competition, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Maldives, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste and Turkmenistan were given the lowest seeds.

The participating nations were divided into two zones, West and East, with 23 teams in the former.

Six groups of six teams each and one group of five were drawn and Malaysia were handed a comfotable draw and placed in Group G along with Korea Republic, Vietnam, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei and The Philippines

15 spots are up for grabs in the final competition, expected to be played in June 2013. Teams will play a single round in a league format and the top two teams will qualify for the tournament proper along with the best third-placed team among all the groups, while the hosts of the Finals qualify automatically.

The AFC U-22 Asian Cup is a new competition intended to promote the development of youth football in the region. The next edition of the biennial competition will serve as qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics.

Speaking at the draw AFC Executive Director of Competitions Windsor John said, "This is the latest tournament we have introduced, so this draw in itself is a historic event."

"The AFC views this competition as the second biggest national team competition [in the region], giving prominence and importance to the development of competitions for both the AFC and member associations."

The qualifiers will take place from June 23 to July 3 2012 in seven centralised venues, which will be announced at a later date.

Full draw:

Group A: UAE, Iraq, Oman, India, Turkmenistan, Lebanon
Group B: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka
Group C: Bahrain, Iran, Tajikistan, Qatar, Kuwait, Maldives
Group D: Uzbekistan, Jordan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Nepal
Group E: Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Macau, Timor Leste
Group F: DPR Korea, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia
Group G: Korea Republic, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei, The Philippines