32 teams will be taking part in the continental tournament.
After being indebted to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to finally agreeing upon a proper roadmap for the future of Indian domestic football, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is also eyeing a potential bid to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2022.
According to the Times of India, an inspection team consisting of AFC representatives had visited the country twice in the last month in a bid to check the infrastructure necessary to host a tournament of such stature.
India had hosted the Women’s Asian Cup once before in 1980, but face tough competition from Uzbekistan and Chinese Taipei to host the tournament next time around.
While the initial plan was to only host the game’s of the tournament in Mumbai, the AIFF has also expanded it’s potential venue list to two more stadiums.
Apparently the AFC delegation team, led by AFC’s Asian Cup departmental head, Yu Jinho, had only inspected Mumbai at first but realized that the city does not have enough FIFA approved stadiums who are stable enough to host the entirety of the tournament.
While the old-age DY Patil Stadium does tick all the necessary requirements needed to host high-profile matches, having held many FIFA U-17 World Cup games two years ago, the Mumbai Football Arena is still not certified good enough.
The AFC delegation were left unimpressed by the quality of some stadiums in Mumbai, hence they have also enlisted Goa and Ahmedabad as potential venues.
The FIFA council recently revealed that the FIFA Women’s World Cup from 2023 onwards will be a 32 team affair, which will make it possible for different federations to involve more of their teams into it.
As a result, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup needs to be hosted in more than one FIFA-accredited stadium in a city. Speaking on this, an AIFF official told TOI, “The Women’s Asian Cup could also be expanded from the current eight-team competition if Asia’s quota of five berths is increased. In such a scenario, we would need to offer more than one venue. Goa has all the facilities, including training venues, while Ahmedabad has an excellent stadium.”
Five teams had represented the AFC in the FIFA Women’s World Cup earlier this year – Australia, South Korea, Japan, China and Thailand. The United States of America won the tournament for the fifth time in what was a monumental tournament for women’s football.
The Indian Women’s national team is also making inroads under Maymol Rocky’s guidance and hosting the tournament will give them a huge opportunity to fight their way into an unprecedented FIFA Women’s World Cup berth in 2023.