5th West Asian U-23 Championship in Al-Ahsa: Four International Teams Join

5th West Asian Football Federation Under-23 Championship Welcomes Teams from Outside the Region

The upcoming 5th edition of the West Asian Football Federation Under-23 Championship will feature a unique twist, with four teams from outside the region set to join the competition. Scheduled to kick off on March 20, 2024, in Al-Ahsa city, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the tournament will see eight teams vying for the title. Alongside familiar faces such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates, guest teams South Korea, Thailand, Australia, and Egypt will make their debut in the championship.

The decision to include teams from beyond the region stems from an invitation by the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) to foster a diverse and enriching competitive environment. This move aligns with the WAFF’s overarching goal of broadening participation and providing national teams with valuable opportunities to test their skills against international opponents.

Building on the success of the previous edition, which saw the Iranian national team as a guest participant, the upcoming tournament serves as a crucial preparatory platform for teams gearing up for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup slated for April 2024 in Doha, Qatar. To ensure ample time for the regional teams to ready themselves, the WAFF strategically selected the March dates for the championship.

In anticipation of the event, the WAFF has slated the draw for the tournament on March 3, 2024, to be livestreamed on the federation’s YouTube channel. Reflecting on past championships, the fourth edition held in Iraq in 2023 witnessed the host team clinch the title, triumphing over the Iranian national squad.

Looking back at previous editions, Saudi Arabia emerged victorious in the third edition hosted in November 2022, with Qatar and Syria securing second and third place, respectively. The second edition held in Saudi Arabia in 2021 saw the Jordanian national team emerge triumphant against the host team. The inaugural tournament, hosted in Qatar in 2015, saw Iran claim the championship title, with Syria and Qatar securing second and third place, respectively.

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