BY: Michelle Liew

Good news has dawned upon local football fans as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) recently announced that Malaysia was selected as the host of the 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers.

The AFC has previously confirmed that all 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers will be held centrally, and all matches will follow a ‘single round robin’ format.

The move was made after considering the factors and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Six centralized venues have been offered to the 24 teams competing in the qualifiers. Apart from Malaysia, the other five countries selected are India, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Uzbekistan.

Three dates have been set for the 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers which are on 8, 11 and 14 June 2022.

The team that will play against Malaysia will be determined through an official vote on February 24.

The division of teams in the ballot box is based on the FIFA ranking position on February 10, 2022.

Malaysia is in the top three of the 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers along with Afghanistan, Yemen, Myanmar, Maldives and Indonesia.

All 24 teams will be voted in six groups.

Only the group champions and the top five group runners-up will get tickets to play in the 2023 Asian Cup finals.

They will join 12 teams from the third round of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers who have confirmed places earlier to form the top 24 teams to compete in the 2023 Asian Cup in China on June 17 to July 16, 2023.

For the record, a total of 12 teams have confirmed slots to play in the 2023 Asian Cup, including Vietnam, Syria, China, Australia, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Japan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Korea and Lebanon.