Mumbai, July 6 (MNN) The Mumbai Football Arena at the Andheri Sports Complex here and Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi in Pune will host the premier women’s national team competition next year.
The 37,900-capacity DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai will be one of the three stadiums to stage AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 from January 20 to February 6, 2022.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022TM Local Organising Committee (LOC) on Tuesday confirmed the decision after taking into consideration the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic and to minimise travel time for teams and officials between venues while ensuring optimum environment to implement bio-bubble for the benefit of all stakeholders.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel said: “As the situation evolved, we had to adapt and the need was to create a bio-secure bubble. Hence, we chose Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune, venues in close geographical proximity with stadiums that have previously hosted major football competitions.
“I am happy that the Maharashtra government is paying special attention to the infrastructure and preparations for the tournament, and is dedicated to make the AFC Women’s Asian Cup a grand success.” .
Odisha and Gujarat were slated to host the tournament previously.
Japan, Australia, China and hosts India have already sealed their places in the finals and the race to join the quartet will take the centre stage from September this year when 28 teams across eight groups begin their quest to clinch the eight remaining places in the newly-expanded and biggest-ever edition of the continental women’s showpiece.
Three-time champions Chinese Taipei, Bahrain, Turkmenistan and Laos have been drawn in Group A, while Group B will see Vietnam, Tajikistan, Maldives and Afghanistan compete for a place in the finals.
Asian powerhouses and three-time title holders DPR Korea are in Group C alongside Singapore, Iraq and Indonesia with Myanmar, United Arab Emirates, Guam and Lebanon completing the line-up in Group D.
2003 runners-up Korea Republic, Uzbekistan and Mongolia are in Group E, as Philippines, Hong Kong and Nepal prepare to battle in Group F.
2018 hosts Jordan will be eyeing a second successive appearance in the finals but will face tough oppositions against Iran and Bangladesh in Group G. Meanwhile, Thailand, Palestine and Malaysia will battle for the coveted finals solitary spot in Group H.