Challenge Cup qualifiers still on despite Brunei pullout
MANILA – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) said the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers will push through at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium despite Brunei’s withdrawal from the tournament.
Local Organizing Committee (LOC) chairman Cyril Dofitas said the Qualifiers for Group E are still all set for kick off on Friday.
“We are ready and excited to host the tournament,” Dofitas said in a statement. “The LOC has been working very hard to put things in order.”
The first game between Turkmenistan and Cambodia will kickoff at 4:30 p.m. Friday (March 22).
The next game will be on Sunday (March 24) between the Philippines and Cambodia.
The last match day will be on Tuesday, March 26, with the Philippines versus Turkmenistan.
Local organizers were surprised when Brunei Darussalam, which was supposed to face the Philippine Azkals on Friday, pulled out from the tournament.
AFC Match Commissioner Kemel Tokabev announced during the match coordination meeting on Thursday that Brunei formally communicated with AFC its withdrawal only today.
“We were surprised, just like the others, to receive the confirmation at noontime today that Brunei has formally written the AFC yesterday, stating they cannot participate in the qualifiers that we are hosting, due to quote-unquote unavoidable circumstances,” said PFF General Secretary Atty. Ed Gastanes in an interview on ANC.
“I think in the history of the competition, it is the first time (that this happened),” he added. “It is unfortunate that it occurred in a group, where the Philippines will for the first time, host the qualifiers.”
The matches will be aired on Studio 23 and Balls Channel on the following schedule:
Friday - Cambodia vs Turkmenistan - 6:45 p.m. (playback)
Sunday - Philippines vs Cambodia - 7 p.m.
Tuesday - Philippines vs Turkmenistan - 7 p.m.