AFC announce new dates for World Cup, Asian Cup qualifiers

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have announced new dates for the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup qualifiers, which earlier was scheduled for March and June, before being halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

After consultation with Fifa, AFC tonight said that remaining matches for the second round joint qualifiers are now scheduled for October and November.

AFC said match days 7 and 8 are set to take place on Oct 8 and 13 respectively, while match days 9 and 10 are due to kick off on Nov 12 and 17 to ensure the second round of joint qualifications is completed by November this year.

It is in order to commence the subsequent 2022 Qatar World Cup final round qualifiers (Asia) and the 2023 China Asian Cup third round qualifiers by the March 2021 match dates in the Fifa international calendar.

“AFC will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety and well-being of all teams, officials, fans and stakeholders as well as government travel and medical restrictions and will notify all parties should there be a need to reassess the match schedules due to the ever-evolving impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” AFC said in a statement.

Harimau Malaya, under coach Tan Cheng Hoe, will resume the qualifiers in Group G against the UAE in Abu Dhabi on Oct 8, followed by the home fixture against Vietnam five days later before concluding the campaign against Thailand in Bangkok on Nov 17.

Malaysia are second with nine points as Vietnam top the group on 11, while Thailand lie third with eight points, followed by the UAE (six points) with a one game advantage.