Hong Kong have been handed a relatively easy draw in the qualifying stage of the 2004 Asian Cup. But even if Hong Kong win Group D, which also includes regional minnows Laos and Bangladesh, the SAR face a huge task if they hope to advance further into the draw. Hong Kong will then have to face Uzbekistan, Thailand and Tajikistan in the second qualifying stage. A Hong Kong FA spokesman said dates for the tournament have not been finalised and a decision has not been made as to whether home-and-away matches will be played as opposed to one central location, thus saving travelling time and money. The 20-team tournament also includes Asian giants Saudi Arabia and South Korea plus Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. Hong Kong performed with credit at the Asian Games in Pusan where they lost narrowly to Kuwait (1-0) and North Korea (2-1) before defeating Pakistan 3-0.