Everything Ready For AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers
Saturday, 25 April 2009

Bangladesh is ready to host the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers with all preparations already completed, said Bangladesh Football Federation officials on Friday.

"All preparation have been completed to make the tournament a success and the participating teams and tournament officials have started arriving in the city and we are just waiting for the kick off," chairman of the Challenge Cup's local organising committee Anwarul Haq Helal told reporters at a pre-tournament press briefing at BFF House on Friday.

Helal, also a BFF member, said that the match commissioner had already visited the venue and he had no complaint.

"We had a headache with the floodlights, but it has increased incredibly after repairing and it has now above 1200 lux that is more than enough to hold an international match," said Helal, however, was not satisfied over the pitch.

"After the Super Cup final, we haven't had enough time to prepare the pitch, but I think the present condition of the pitch is well enough to hold international matches."

Police and DESA reassured the BFF that they would take adequate security measures on and off the field and continue the power supply respectively, said Helal.

Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and Macao from Group A will fight for a ticket in the eight-team final round to be held in 2010.

Apart from Group A, the champions from three other groups and the best runners-up will join defending champions India, Tajikistan and China in the final round.

The former general secretary said Bangladesh have a real chance in the qualifying round as the champions of the final round would qualify for the Asia Cup.

"The AFC Cup winners will get a direct entry to the next Asia Cup and we are taking it as a good opportunity to qualify for the final round after finishing top in the qualifiers."

Helal also expects a healthy turnout like the matches of the Citycell Super Cup.

"We are expecting the same kind of turnout during the Super Cup for the AFC Challenge Cup matches. The Super Cup was a domestic tournament and the Challenge Cup is an international meet where the national team will compete. So we hope that the spectators will turn up to support their national team."

The tournament committee chief informed that they had already taken different initiatives to drum up public support for the qualifiers like as distributing leaflets, errecting giant screens for TV commercials and having two horse caravans parade the city.

The BFF member also informed that a street-play with the theme of football would be staged at the TSC, Kamlapur and outer stadium on Saturday as well as bandannas and flags would be distributed before each of Bangladesh's game.

Meanwhile, Macao were the first team to reach the city while Myanmar and Cambodia are scheduled to arrive here Friday night.

Source: bdnews24.com

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