THE upcoming joint qualification of the 2022 Fifa World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup where the Philippine Azkals will be playing has been moved from Suzhou, China to Dubai, according to multiple reports.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) made the announcement, Reuters reported, after members of the Maldives and Syria national squad were infected with COVID-19. Titan Sports Plus, meanwhile, reported Maldives and Syria are still in Dubai as they were not cleared to enter China by authorities.
Reuters also reported authorities have required Maldives and Syria to undergo quarantine, which will make them unavailable to play their matches in China.
Suzhou, China was supposed to host the Fifa World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers under a centralized setting or bubble. Curiously, however, the resumption of the qualifiers last Sunday saw thousands of fans at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre witnessing host China beat Guam, 7-0.
It is not yet clear whether the schedule of the matches in Dubai will be changed. The Azkals were scheduled to play Guam on June 3, China on June 9, and Maldives on June 15.
The Azkals now occupy third place with seven points in Group A following China’s blanking of Guam behind 29,222 fans at the Suzhou.
Lei Wu (20th, 55th) and Alan (83rd, 87th) scored two goals each for China, while Jingdao Jin, Xi Wu, and Elkeson also knocked one each to stay in second place in Group A with 10 points.
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