Three cities – Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, and Navi Mumbai - have been shortlisted as the venues for the upcoming 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup. Surprisingly, football hubs like Kolkata, Goa, Kerala, and Guwahati have been overlooked for the mega-event that is set to kick-off on January 20, next year.
India is gearing up to host the biggest women’s football event in Asia – 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup - having earned the rights last year. The AFC (Asian Football Confederation), along with the LOC (Local Organising Committee) have recently announced three cities - Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, and Navi Mumbai - as venues for the mega-event.
The newly-built Transtadia, Ahmedabad, with a capacity of 20,000 is one of the venues, while the 15,000-seater Kalinga Stadium is also in the list. Meanwhile, the DY Patil Stadium that hosted matches during the FIFA U-17 World Cup and can hold 55-000 people, is the third stadium.
"Women's football in Asia is world-class, and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the LOC have selected exceptional venues that will deliver a true spectacle befitting the stature of the tournament,” said AFC general secretary Dato Windsor.
"The AFC is grateful to the AIFF, the LOC and the three host cities for their dedication and we are confident that the tournament will serve as a catalyst to take women's football in India, which continues to make significant strides, to even greater heights in the coming years," added the official.
Surprisingly, the football hubs in India like Kolkata, Guwahati, Kerala, and Goa have been overlooked. AIFF General Secretary Praful Patel addressed that they have taken an initiative to take the game to new places, which is going to boost the football ecosystem.
"While we have seen Navi Mumbai deliver spectacularly in 2017 for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, we are taking the game to new places with Bhubaneswar and Ahmedabad through the two women's tournaments next year, which is really encouraging for our overall football ecosystem,” stated Praful Patel.
The qualifying rounds for the 2022 AFC Asian Cup will take place from September 13 to 25 in neutral venues, later this year, while the draw would be held on May 27 at the AFC headquarters, in Kuala Lumpur.