AFC have decided to revamp the confederation's national team competitions as they announced they are expanding the Asian Cup Finals.
Under the new format, Asia’s showpiece event – Asian Cup – will have 24 teams in the tournament proper instead of 16. The 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, to be held in Maldives in May this year, will be the last edition of this competition.
The qualification rounds for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and Asian Cup qualifiers will also be merged for the preliminary round.
The preliminary round will likely see the numbers of teams reduce from 46 to 32 first as the teams will be divided up into eight groups after that for AFC always put 4 teams in a group.
It may then spell bad news for Singapore as it may mean we may only play 2 official games in 4 years.
From the preliminary round, the eight group winners and four second best teams will qualify for the FIFA World Cup final round of qualifiers and also the AFC Asian Cup finals.
It is unlikely Singapore will do that well to get a spot in the first stage but that is where the good news is for we only need to finish third in any group to get into Asian Cup Finals with it expanded to 24 teams.
The final round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers will be separated.
Of course my hope to avoid a disaster is that AFC will ensure the number of teams in each group for the preliminary round is 5 teams like CAF whom they have copied the idea to merge the FIFA World Cup and regional qualifiers.
It will mean 40 teams and a minimum 8 games for most teams with only 6 teams losing out.
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