THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

India ready to play the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup

AFC Challenge Cup

AFC Challenge Cup

The Indian national team will be taking part in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup as expected. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has released a confirmed list of 20 nations participating in the tournament for “emerging countries”.

Afghanistan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Guam, India, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Northern Mariana Islands, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan submitted their interest to take part in the competition before the deadline on September 7.

The Northern Mariana Islands only became a full member of the AFC two years ago and they will be competing in the AFC Challenge Cup for the very first time.

The 20 teams will take part in the qualifiers first, before they play in the eight team finals in 2014. The winning team will earn a direct qualification spot for Asia’s top continental tournament, the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia.

Defending and reigning champions DPR Korea have already secured their spot in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup and therefore the East Asians opted not to participate in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup. This will be a major boost for teams like India to qualify for the AFC Challenge Cup finals and even go further.

The 2014 AFC Challenge Cup will be India’s best chance to qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup and to participate in Asia’s top flight competition for a second consecutive time after playing the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

The qualifying draw will be held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on October 25.

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