KUALA LUMPUR: The National Under-23 squad are expected to face a tough qualifying hurdle after being drawn in the same group as South-East Asian giants Thailand for the 2024 Asia Cup Under-23 Qualifiers scheduled in Thailand from Sept 6-12.
In the draw held yesterday for the biennial tournament, Malaysia were drawn in Group H together with Thailand, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
The Under-23 squad coached by E. Elavarasan will open their campaign on Sept 6, against Bangladesh before taking on the Philippines on Sept 9 and face the toughest match against the host country on Sept 12.
In the qualifiers, 11 group winners and four best placed runner-up teams will join host country, Qatar, in the Under-23 Asia Cup final scheduled from April 15-May 3, next year.
Meanwhile, the top three teams in the Asia Cup 2024 final will also qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics slated in July and August next year.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had decided to not send the National Under-23 squad for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, which will be held in September this year, due to the proximity of dates with the 2024 Asia Cup final. — Bernama