The 5th edition of the Under-23 Championship will host 4 teams from outside the region

The 5th edition of the West Asian Football Federation Under-23 Championship will host four teams from outside the region.

The tournament will take place in Al-Ahsa city, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, starting from March 20, 2024, with the participation of eight teams: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates, along with guest teams South Korea, Thailand, Australia, and Egypt.

This comes as a response to the invitation extended by the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) to these teams to participate in this edition.

Inviting teams from outside the region aligns with the WAFF plans to expand participation and provide opportunities for national teams to compete against opponents from outside the region for diversity and gaining more experience.

The participation of teams from outside the region in the fifth edition of the Under-23 Championship is another experience following the fourth edition of the same tournament held in the summer of 2023.

In that edition, the Iranian national team was invited.

This move, along with the tournament in general, serves as an important stage for the teams, especially as it precedes their participation in the AFC U-23 Asian Cup scheduled in Doha, Qatar in April 2024.

This led the WAFF to choose this specific date to allow the qualified regional teams to prepare adequately.

In the same context, the WAFF has scheduled the draw for the tournament on March 3, 2024, to be broadcasted live on the federation’s YouTube channel.

It is worth noting that the fourth edition of the tournament took place in Iraq in 2023, where the host team secured the title against the Iranian national team.

Saudi Arabia hosted the third edition in November 2022, and the Saudi national team won the title, with Qatar finishing in second place and Syria in third.

The second edition of the tournament was hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2021, where the Jordanian national team won the title against the host team.

The inaugural edition took place in Qatar in 2015, with Syria finishing second, Qatar third, and Iran winning the championship.