TWENTY-THREE teams will compete in the first ever FIFA Arab cup to be hosted in the 2022 Qatar world cup venues at the end of this year.
Eleven Arabic speaking African countries will take part in the tournament.
The eleven include Egypt, Algeria, Comoros, Tunisia, Sudan, Mauritania, South Sudan, Djibouti, Libya, Morocco and Somalia.
Other participating countries include the host nation Qatar, Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain.
Of the 23 nations involved, the 14 lowest-ranked teams, according to the April edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings, would participate in single-leg play-offs ahead of the tournament, which would be held later this year.
In the play-offs, Oman ranked 80th will play Somalia ranked 197.
Lebanon on 93rd will take on Djibouti ranked 183 with 95th ranked Jordan taking on South Sudan ranked 169.
Bahrain the 99th ranked would battle it out with 148th ranked Kuwait, with Mauritania 101 playing Yemen ranked 145.
The last two play-offs would see Palestine ranked 104 playing Comoros ranked 131 while the last one will be an all African affair that sees Libya ranked 119 versus Sudan 123.
The seven winning teams will join the nine highest-ranked teams who have already qualified for the tournament that includes host nation Qatar ranked 58, Tunisia (26), Algeria (33), Morocco (34), Egypt (46), Saudi Arabia (65), Iraq (68), the United Arab Emirates (73) and Syria (79).
The tournament will consist of a group stage and knockout rounds.
The 16 teams will be split into four groups of four, with the top two from each progressing to the quarterfinals.
Matches will be played at six FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament venues.
The draws for the tournament were conducted on Tuesday at Katara Opera House in Doha.
The FIFA Arab Cup will be held at the end of 2021 and is seen as a vital opportunity to test operations and facilities exactly a year before Qatar hosts the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world.
The finals of both events are set to take place on 18 December which is Qatar’s National Day.