Kuala Lumpur, Jan 28 (IANS) The AFC Women’s Asian Cup, slated to be held in 2022, will take place from January 20 to February 6, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) confirmed on Thursday.
The tournament will feature Asia’s top 12 teams, expanded from eight in the previous edition, comprising three groups of four, with a minimum of 25 matches played over 18 days and eight teams qualifying for the newly introduced quarter-finals.
The tournament will also serve as the qualifiers for the historic cross Confederation FIFA World Cup 2023 to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, which will see a record five Asian teams seal their spots to join host Australia during the Asian Cup 2022 for the newly-expanded 32-team global showpiece.
“Women’s football in Asia is world class and with the next FIFA Women’s World Cup to be staged in Australia and New Zealand, there has never been a more exciting time for women’s football in the Continent,” AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said.
“India has seen incredible growth in recent years, in both the men’s and women’s game and we are confident that the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 will present another historic step in the incredible journey of Indian football – one that will strengthen the passion for the game and leave a lasting impact for future generations of women footballers and passionate fans,” he added.
The qualifiers for the 2022 tournament is set to take place from September 13 to 25, 2021 in a centralised venue as the continent’s hopefuls compete for the final eight spots to join the three highest-ranked sides from the last AFC Women’s Asian Cup — champions Japan, Australia and China PR — who alongside host India receive automatic qualification into the 2022 finals.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel said: “The AFC Women’s Asian Cup will not only kick-start 2022 but will be a momentous year for women’s football in India with two big events. We have seen the incremental growth and rise in popularity of women’s football with the hosting of international tournaments, and 2022 will be an important step in this journey.
“With the tournament expanded to 12 teams for this edition, fans will have the chance to see the best women footballers from around the continent in India. Our preparations as hosts are on track, and we’re confident of delivering a world-class tournament for teams and fans,” he added.