MUMBAI: With under 50 days to go for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022, key stakeholders of the government of Maharashtra, the host state for the tournament and a delegation of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) met last week to discuss and review the preparedness for the upcoming tournament, which is Asia’s premier women’s national team competition.
Project directors of the LOC, Ankush Arora and Nandini Arora updated Aditya Thackeray, Minister of Tourism, government of Maharashtra, who is also the president of Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) on the preparedness for the tournament and elaborated upon the health and safety precautions being taken by the LOC to conduct the tournament in a safe and secured manner, in the hindsight of the COVID19 pandemic.
Upon successful discussions last Wednesday, Thackeray, noted that the best foot is being put forth by everyone involved in the lead up to the 12-nation tournament which will be played between January 20 and February 6 next year.
“Gearing up for the upcoming AFC Women's Asian Cup in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai & Pune, reviewed the preparations this afternoon. We are ensuring that COVID protocols are fully adhered to for the safety of the players, coaches, staff without hampering the experience of the game,” Thackeray, posted on Twitter following the meeting.
The meeting was also attended by key stakeholders – Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner, Iqbal Singh Chahal, additional commissioner, Ashwini Bhide, Maharashtra Sports commissioner Omprakash Bakoria, additional commissioner of Police (Traffic), Satya Narayan and deputy secretary Sports , Swati Nanal.
Everyone present expressed their intent in ensuring safe execution of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 in a bio-secure bubble where health of all involved, including arriving international entourages, is of paramount importance.
"We are extremely pleased that preparations for the prestigious tournament is progressing as per schedule and after meeting with our respected stakeholders, we are increasingly confident of hosting a memorable tournament. We would like to express our wholehearted gratitude to the Government of Maharashtra, the respective Municipal Corporations, the Police Departments, the Sports Authorities and every other stakeholder working continuously to ensure a smooth path to the showpiece event next year", the project directors said in a joint statement.
The 2022 edition promises to be a historic event as it provides the Asian women’s national teams with more opportunities than ever before to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. With five teams from India 2022 set to join FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 co-hosts Australia, at least six teams from the Continent will be seen at the global event in two years’ time. A further two teams will participate in the FIFA Inter-Confederation Play-Offs with a chance to extend Asian representation to eight.
Hosts India have been placed in Group A along with China PR, Chinese Taipei and IR Iran. The remaining eight teams have been divided into two further groups. Australia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia comprise Group B. Meanwhile, Group C will see defending champions Japan being challenged by Korea Republic, Vietnam and Myanmar.