Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman Ebrahim Hamad Al Khalifa said the Philippines will host next year’s AFC Challenge Cup “if something goes wrong in Maldives”.
Though there seems to be no indication of Maldives having issues with its organization leading up to Challenge Cup in May, Al Khalifa believes that the Philippine Football Federation is ready to take up the cudgels if such case occurs. “The Philippines is the second option of something goes wrong in Maldives and I think, organization- wise, the PFF is ready,” Al Khalifa said during his official visit in Manila.
The PFF lost in its bid to host next year’s Challenge Cup but the AFC rewarded the federation with the staging of one of the qualifiers last March at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Al Khalifa was also quick to praise the country for its progress it has done for the last two years that saw semifinal appearances of the Azkals in the AFF Suzuki Cup (twice) and the 2012 Challenge Cup along with the rise as the highest ranked nation in Southeast Asia.
“The Philippines has progressed a lot and hopefully (the country) will have more events, more let’s say football in the ASEAN region now that it is the highest ranked nation in the region so the future looks bright for the PFF,” he said. “
The PFF has been active the last few years and it’s important to have an active football association around Asia.”
Al Khalifa, however, was quick to point out that the “main issue will always face is the infrastructure in Manila regarding matches to be held.”