Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Goa hope Japan agrees to shift Asian Cup match

The Asian Football Confederation has dismissed Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, in football-mad Goa state as a venue for India’s Asian Cup qualifier against Japan on 10 October. The Competition Committee of the AFC, chaired by Dato Paul Mony Samuel, gave the thumbs down to Goa due to the absence of an international airport. “The AFC has not allowed matches at any venue that does not have direct flights for visiting teams. Four venues, including Goa and one in China, have been struck off the list,” All India Football Federation General Secretary Alberto Colaco told The Herald (Goa).

"All, however, is not lost for Goa," the newspaper reported. "The AIFF has managed to extract an assurance from the AFC that the money-spinning qualifier could still be played at Fatorda, if the Japan Football Association agrees." Colaco has written to his Japanese counterpart Kenji Mori, hoping for a favourable reply. The AIFF has provided both the AFC and JFA with details of flights from Japan to Goa (via Mumbai). Goa has also been spoken about as a high profile and hugely-popular tourist destination. If the Japanese feels otherwise, Sree Kaanterva Stadium (Bangalore) or Hyderabad will get the go-ahead.

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