Hithadhoo Zone Stadium development project officially begins

Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal has last night launched the Hithadhoo Zone Stadium development project in Addu City. The stadium will stage some matches of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup to begin in the Maldives in May this year.

Youth Minister told Sun today that development of the Hithadhoo Zone Stadium is a good step for the future. “This stadium will hold openings and closings for international matches. People from the entire zone will see its benefits,” Maleeh said.

Maldives will hold the AFC Challenge Cup from 19 to 30 May this year. Earlier this month, the government signed an agreement with Amin Construction for a MVR 71.5 million project to upgrade the venues for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup, Galolhu Stadium and Addu Zone Stadium.

Drawing of lots for the tournament is scheduled for 12 February in Paradise Island Resort. National teams from Myanmar, Kirgizstan, Afghanistan, Palestine, Philippines, Turkmenistan and Bangladesh will play in the AFC Challenge Cup and the winning team will automatically qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup.

AFC member countries are categorized as "emerging countries" in the "Vision Asia" program, a continent wide program to raise the standards of Asian football. The first AFC Challenge Cup was held in Bangladesh in 2006. India hosted the tournament in 2008, Sri Lanka in 2010 and most recently held in Nepal in 2012.