Uzbekistan and Singapore were placed in Group A alongside Iran and Bahrain, neither of whom have won the competition but finished runners-up in 2000 and 1988 respectively.
The draw has been relatively kind to defending champions Japan, with the two-time tournament winners drawn in Group D with Yemen – surprise finalists in 2002 – the UAE and Malaysia.
With DPR Korea and Tajikistan, both suspended for fielding overage players at the 2006 event, the other semi-finalists in Singapore, Syria went into Tuesday’s draw as the tournament’s second seeds behind Japan.
And the West Asians will be confident of claiming one of the two quarter-final berths from Group B after being pooled with two-time champions Korea Republic, Indonesia and India.
The "group of death" cliché that crops up at every tournament falls on Group C, which sees tournament debutants Australia, 2004 winners China and Saudi Arabia, who are looking for their third title after claiming glory in the first and third editions of the competition going head-to-head with tournament dark horses Turkmenistan.
The 2008 AFC Youth Championship begins in Tashkent on October 4 when hosts Uzbekistan take on Singapore and will conclude with the final on October 19.
AFC U-16 CHAMPIONSHIP 2008 FINALS DRAW IN FULL
2. Korea Republic
2. Saudi Arabia