Hosts Turkmenistan have been drawn to play Vietnam, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong China and the Soloman Islands in Group A of the Futsal competition which is set to be one of the most eagerly anticipated events at the upcoming 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
And in the women’s competition, the host nation will play Thailand and Palestine in Group A following the draw that was carried out at the Games headquarters in the presence of officials from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
In the men's event, 18 teams were divided into two groups of five teams and two groups of four with the winners and runners-up from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals. The four winners of the quarter-finals will advance to the semi-finals and the winner of those will play for the gold and silver medals, while the two losing teams will play for bronze.
The men’s seeding was based on their final rankings at the AFC Futsal Championship Uzbekistan 2016. Group B will include Uzbekistan, China, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates and the Maldives while Group C includes Thailand, Japan, Lebanon and Indonesia. Group D will consist of Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan and Tahiti.
On the women's side, nine teams were divided into three groups of three. The winners from each group plus the best second-placed team of all three groups will advance to the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals will play for the gold and silver medals, while the two losing teams will play for bronze.
The women's teams were seeded based on the final rankings at the AFC Women's Futsal Championship Malaysia 2015. Group B will include Iran, Hong Kong China and Indonesia, and Group C will consist of Japan, China and Vietnam.
The draw included a welcome speech by James Bulley, the CEO of Ashgabat 2017, and an introduction of the official mascot, Wepaly, who placed the Turkmenistan ball into the draw.
“There is an unmistakable buzz throughout this wonderful city of Ashgabat 2017 and today’s draw only heightens that sense of excitement which has spread across Turkmenistan and the region as a whole,” said Mr Bulley.
“Futsal is without doubt one of the most eagerly anticipated events that we are hosting next month, so I would particularly like to welcome our friends from the AFC. Together we look forward to delivering a Futsal competition that will live long in the memory for all of us involved.”
Futsal will take place from 16–21 September and 23–26 September at the Multifunctional Sport Venue. The women's final will take place on 25 September, while the men will play their final on 26 September.