National Team - Lionesses ● Jul 30, 2021
Singapore impacted by DPR Korea withdrawal from AFC Women’s Asian Cup and U23 Asian Cup qualifying
SINGAPORE, 30 JULY 2021 – Singapore will play only two opponents instead of three in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ Qualifiers.
The AFC confirmed earlier today that DPR Korea have withdrawn from the qualifiers, where they had been drawn into Group C with Singapore, Indonesia and Iraq last month. The qualifiers are scheduled to take place from 13 to 25 September 2021 in Indonesia.
With three-time winners and world number 11 DPR Korea out of the running, the Lionesses’ task of clinching a spot in the 20th edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup appears to have been made slightly easier.
Stephen Ng’s charges, who are currently ranked 130th by FIFA, will qualify by winning the group ahead of world number 95 Indonesia and Iraq, who are unranked.
Singapore have participated in the tournament seven times, with their last showing in 2003. Their best showing was third place in the 1977 edition, followed by fourth in 1983.
The eight group winners in qualifying will join defending champions Japan, 2018 runners-up Australia and third-placed China PR as well as hosts India, who have all already qualified for the Finals.
AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers
Over on the men’s side, the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers experienced a greater impact with DPR Korea’s withdrawal, as it caused an imbalanced variance in group sizes.
The AFC has thus scheduled for a draw on 11 August for Groups G to J, with one team moving to join Japan and Cambodia in Group K.
Singapore, led by coaches Nazri Nasir and Philippe Aw, was initially drawn into Group H earlier this month with defending champions Korea Republic, Timor-Leste and the Philippines, but will remain in the group as hosts.
The draw will see Singapore’s group opponents either reduced by one less team overall or remain unchanged.
Regardless, the Under-22s will contest qualification for the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 competition that will take place in June next year. Out of the 11 groups, all group winners and four best second-placed teams will advance to the final stage.
Hosts Uzbekistan have already received direct qualification into the Finals but will also participate in the qualifiers. Their match results will not be considered when calculating the group ranking and best-positioned teams among all groups.
The Under-22s have yet to qualify in any of their four attempts. Their best-showing was in 2019’s edition, where they beat hosts Mongolia 3-1 and drew 1-1 with Hong Kong and DPR Korea to finish second.