India declared as one of six host nations for 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers Final Round

Photo credit: Indian Football

India has been selected as one of the six host nations for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers Final Round, which will be held on June 8, 11 and 14, later this year. The other countries to stage matches are Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia and Uzbekistan.

13 teams, including hosts China have already qualified for the mega event next year, while the remaining 11 places are up for grabs in the upcoming qualifiers. On the basis of FIFA rankings of each nation, the 24 participating teams will be drawn into five seeding pots, including the six hosts MA (Member Association)’s pot.

The six host MAs will be taken out and placed in a separate Host Pot in order to prevent them from being drawn in the same group. Further, out of the six Host MAs, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz Republic and India will be placed in position 1 of their Final Round groups, while Kuwait, Malaysia and Mongolia will occupy spots 2, 3 and 4 in their respective groups.

The draw for the final round will be held virtually in Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday, February 24. If India qualifies, they will be making a fourth ever appearance in the competition, after crashing out in the group stages of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

As per reports, Kolkata is set to host the matches for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers Final Round, with Salt Lake Stadium as the venue. Not only the city has the proper inftrastructure to stage such high profile matches, but the home support will also be advantageous for India's fortunes.

"We understand that playing at home, and that too in Kolkata will be an added advantage to the Blue Tigers in our quest to qualify for the Asian Cup," said AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, as reported by The Times of India.

"We had bid with Kolkata as the venue for the qualifiers. The infrastructure in Kolkata is exceptionally suited to host the qualifiers with the stadium, the practice venues and official accommodation all very closely located."

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