THE Philippine Football Federation’s bid to host the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup Final stage in 2014 has failed after the AFC competitions committee awarded the rights to the Maldives.
With the decision, announced on AFC’s official website on Wednesday, the Philippines men’s football team would have to go through the qualifying stage next year.
It’s nothing new for the Azkals, though, as they also went through the qualifying stage before registering their best finish in the event in March this year when they defeated Palestine, 4-3, to capture third place in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Still, had they won the bid, the Azkals would have clinched an outright berth in the eight-nation Final stage of the competition, which stakes a slot in the more prestigious AFC Asian Cup in 2015.
India and Tajikistan were the two other nations which lost out in the bidding.
PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta had earlier expressed confidence in the Philippines’ chances of hosting the event, saying the AFC had approved the Rizal Memorial Stadium and Panaad Stadium as possible venues.