With the highly anticipated FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022 just five days away, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has conveyed his best wishes to the Continent’s teams, match officials as well as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
The future stars of the women’s game will take to the field from October 11 to 30, across three host cities – Bhubaneswar, Goa, and Navi Mumbai – in what promises to be a landmark tournament for Indian and Asian football.
Underlining its significance, Shaikh Salman said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to wish hosts India as well as Japan, China PR and our 14 AFC match officials the very best of success at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022.
“Football in India, most notably, the women’s game has seen tremendous progress in recent years, and I am confident that the tournament will play a crucial role in inspiring more young girls to grow and develop through the beautiful game.
“The LOC, the AIFF and Indian Government have spent years planning and preparing for this tournament and I am sure that we will witness a truly memorable spectacle that will leave a palpable and lasting impact not only in India but across the globe.”
Asian sides have won the coveted crown on three occasions in the last six editions with hosts India taking on heavyweights the United States on Tuesday, October 11 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar at 8pm (local time). The hosts will also have to contend with fellow debutants Morocco and two-time Quarter-finalists Brazil in Group A.
China PR will be the next Asian side to feature on Wednesday when the young Steel Roses face 2018 runners-up Mexico at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai at 4:30pm, with Colombia and defending champions Spain presenting equally captivating battles in the subsequent Group C action.
Japan, who are looking to add to their 2014 triumph, will be hoping for a strong start when they battle newcomers Tanzania in Group D at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on the same day at 8pm before facing Canada and France on October 15 and 18 respectively.
Meanwhile, several AFC match officials are poised to make history with Thailand’s Pansa Chaisanit, Edita Mirabidova of Uzbekistan, and Korea Republic’s Oh Hyeon Jeong set to mark their debut as main referees in a FIFA tournament.
They will be joined by Assistant Referees Supawan Hinthong and Nuannid Donjangreed of Thailand, Joanna Charaktis of Australia, Uzbekistan’s Kristina Sereda, and Chinese duo Fang Yan and Xie Lijun.
In addition, five video match officials — Omar Mohamed Al Ali from the United Arab Emirates, Hanna Hattab from Syria, Sivakorn Pu-Udom of Thailand, and Australia’s Lara Lee and Casey Reibelt — will be assisting from the VAR room.