DUSHANBE, October 30, Asia-Plus - According to Tajikistan’s Football Federation, Tajik soccer players participating in the in the Asian Under Twenty Football Championship in India yesterday lost their first game against Iran’s U-20 team.  The final score was 1-3.  Tajik sportsmen will play the next game against Northern Korea on November 2.

The championship is being conducted in Kolkata and Bangalore from October 29 to November 12 2006, in which 16 teams are taking part.  Tajikistan is slotted in Group C in the Draw.  In its group, Tajikistan is competing for the semi-final with U20 teams from North Korea, Iran and Japan.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) started the AFC Youth Championship in 1959, five after formation of the game’s continent body.  The AFC first hosted the men’s Asian Cup in1956 and three years later decided to hold the youth competition to provide another tier of competitive international football for the development of young playing talent in Asia.  The competition will be known as the AFC U-19 Championship from the next edition to fall in line with FIFA’s naming convention and reflect the age of the players at the competition.  The competition is held every two years and is open to players under 19 and also acts as qualifying tournament for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.  The top four sides in the AFC Youth Championship will advance to the FIFA U-20 World Cup to be played in Canada from June 30 to July 22 next year.   

As it had been reported earlier, Tajik soccer players will try to gain entry to the 2007 FIFA Under Twenty World Cup.