WAFF Championship to kick off tonight

WAFF Championship to kick off tonight

By Anthony Yacoub (follow Anthony on twitter @TrickyFC)

The 2012 West Asian Football Federation Championship, which kicks off tonight in Kuwait, will be the seventh edition of the biennial international tournament for West Asian countries.

Kuwait celebrate their 2010 WAFF title

The WAFF sent invitations to the thirteen member associations in December 2012, with eleven teams confirming their participation. The teams are:

Kuwait (hosts), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Oman, Yemen, Iraq, Palestine and Jordan.

Qatar did not enter while UAE, who originally agreed to participate, withdrew at a later date after WAFF rejected UAE’s request to enter their U22 team.

The eleven teams will be divided into three groups, with top team from each group alongside with best second-place team advancing to the semi-finals.

Group A: Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Palestine.
Group B: Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia.
Group C: Iraq, Syria, Jordan.

Four times champion Iran are using the tournament as a chance to blood new players and bring a new generation of Iranian players into the national team set-up.

“Our objective is to introduce a new generation of the Iranian football,” Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said.

“Iran football needs fresh blood and we can find new faces and we will use the competition to prepare the team for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers,” Queiroz said.

Kuwait, first time host, will be looking to defend the title they won when they defeated Iran 2-1 in the 2010 WAFF Final in Amman, Jordan.

Past Winners
Iran - 4 (2000, 2004, 2007, 2008)
Iraq - 1 (2002)
Kuwait - 1 (2010)

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