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    Philippine chances of hosting Challenge Cup now dim as Maldives starts renovation of stadiums

    Dec 24, 2013

    IT appears Maldives will host the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup after all.

    The island nation seemed to have made the mid-December schedule set by the AFC for the start of renovation work of their stadiums. Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal, the country’s minister of youth and sports, said they will begin construction work in the first week of January.

    “We are confident that we will have the chance to host the Challenge Cup and we are ready for that,” Jamaal told Maldivesoccer.com.

    The Philippines was earlier thrust as a backup host of the prestigious tournament that stakes a lone ticket to the 2015 Asian Cup after the AFC gave Maldives an ultimatum to start required renovation work on its venues on December 15.

    That would have given the Azkals the advantage of playing in front of the home crowd in the eight-nation competition.

    Now, the renovation on the two Maldives stadiums proposed to host the Challenge Cup is expected to be finished by the end of March, two months before the competition.

    Maldives is already set to also host the Challenge Cup draw in the middle of February.

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