JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR: With Indonesia set to host their first ever FIFA tournament, Asian Football Confederation president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has outlined his confidence in the nation’s ability to stage a spectacular FIFA U-17 World Cup 2023 whilst wishing the five Asian representatives the very best of success ahead of Friday’s kick-off.

Scheduled to be held across four cities – Surabaya, Surakarta, Jakarta and Bandung – from November 10 to December 2, the Continent’s five representatives – hosts Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Asian champions Japan, Korea Republic, and Uzbekistan – will be looking to emulate Saudi Arabia’s title-winning run in 1989, which remains Asia’s best performance in the age-group showpiece to date.

Shaikh Salman said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to wish our five Asian teams the very best of success in what promises to be a watershed moment in the history of the global game.

“Few places in the world share such a palpable passion for the beautiful game than Indonesia and we are confident that the Football Association of Indonesia, the Local Organising Committee, and the Indonesian Authorities will provide an excellent stage for the future stars of the game to shine.

“Our Asian teams have shown the world their ability to stand tall in the biggest arenas in world football, as underlined in the AFC’s Vision and Mission and we have every faith that they will showcase their undeniable talent in Indonesia,” added the AFC President.

Uzbekistan, who are returning to the global finals after a decade, are set to commence Asia’s campaign when they take on 2015 runners-up Mali in Group B on November 10 at the Manahan Stadium in Surakarta at 4pm. The young White Wolves, whose best result came in 2011 when they reached the Quarter-finals, will also entertain Canada on November 13 as well as four-time runners-up Spain three days later.

Hosts Indonesia will create history on the opening day when they take on South American U-17 Championship 2023 runners-up Ecuador in what promises to be an electric atmosphere at the 45,000-capacity Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium in Surabaya at 7pm. The Young Garudas will also contend with Group A rivals Panama and Morocco on November 13 and 16 respectively at the same venue and kick-off time.

Reigning Asian champions Japan, who will be making their 10th and third consecutive FIFA U-17 World Cup appearance at Indonesia 2023, will be the next to feature when they take on Poland in Group D at the Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Bandung at 4pm on November 11. The Samurai Blue – whose 13 victories at the U-17 World Cup is the most by any Asian side in the competition’s history – will also need to navigate past Argentina on November 14 and Senegal three days later as they look to surpass their best Quarter-final performances in 1993 and 2011.

The opening action focus will then shift to the nation’s capital at the Jakarta International Stadium where the Islamic Republic of Iran, poised for their fifth appearance, will face a stern test against reigning champions and four-time winners Brazil in Group C at 7pm. Team Melli, who are unbeaten in their past nine group matches at the Finals, will also duel with 2017 champions England on November 14 before taking on New Caledonia on November 17.

Finally, Korea Republic will battle the United States in Group E on November 12 at the Jakarta International Stadium at 7pm. The three-time Quarter-finalists in 1987, 2009 and 2019 – set for their seventh appearance at the global showdown – will also lock horns with 2001 champions France three days later before facing Burkina Faso on November 18.