Team Melli Iran was drawn into a tough group when the draw for the seventh West Asia Football Federation (WAFF) Championship was held in Kuwait yesterday. , Iran are placed in Group ‘B’ along with their nemesis Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen. The championship takes place in Kuwait from December 8 to 20. The number of participating teams was reduced to 11 following the withdrawal of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The UAE wanted to field a second-string team in the championship but the WAFF rejected their request as it was against the rules. The Qatar federation had already informed the federation of their inability to field a team in the regional event. The eleven participating teams are placed in three groups. Like Group ‘B’, Group ‘A’ comprises four teams, host Kuwait was drawn with Oman , Lebanon and Palestine. There are only three teams in Group ‘C’ and they are Iraq, Syria and Jordan. The winners of each and the fourth team with the best result will qualify for the semifinals.
Though the exact schedule of the matches is yet to be announced, the first round will see match-ups between Iran vs Bahrain Group, Yemen vs Saudi Arabia, Oman vs Kuwait, Palestine vs Lebanon, Iraq vs Syria and Syria vs Jordan. Group ‘A’: Kuwait (hosts), Oman, Lebanon, Palestine. Group ‘B’: Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia. Group ‘C’: Iraq, Syria, Jordan.
Team Melli will be participating with a strong squad but Queiroz has already indicated that he will be using many players who were not even enough playing time during the FIFA World Cup qualification matches.