Despite stating in a CNA interview that there will be no International competitions for the Young Lions until a Southeast Asian Games review is completed and until “implementation” of the findings has reached a stage where Singapore will be at a “competitive” level, Singapore did not pull out of the Asian Football Confederation U23 qualifiers draw which was held on Thursday, 25 May in Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore will play its Group C matches in Vietnam, and will face off against the hosts, Yemen and Guam.
At time of publication, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has not made any public communication about the Young Lions’ draw, given that current coach Philippe Aw was granted a leave of absence following the “intense” SEA Games in Cambodia.
Singapore’s Group C matches in Vietnam will be held from 6 to 12 September, with venues still to be confirmed.
The AFC U23 draw saw 43 teams divided into 10 groups of four and one group of three.
Each group will be played at a centralised venue in a single round-robin format, with the 11 group winners and four best second-placed teams qualifying for the AFC U23 Asian Cup in 2024.
They will join Qatar, who have received automatic qualification as hosts, to form the final cast of 16 at the tournament, with matches to be played between 15 April to 3 May 2024.
The U23 Asian Cup will also serve as a qualifier for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024.
The top three teams will directly qualify for the Olympic Games as the AFC representatives, while the fourth-best team will play in the AFC-Confederation of African Football Play-off.
The U23 Asian Cup will be the competition’s sixth edition.
While Singapore did not pull out of the AFC U23 qualifiers, they had pulled out of the ASEAN Football Federation U23 championships, but that was done at the end of April, prior to the team heading to the SEA Games.
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