Heavy showers cast doubt on AFC Challenge final

August 9th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by IANS  

By Abhishek Roy
Hyderabad, Aug 9 (IANS) Heavy rains here have cast doubt on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup final between India and defending champions Tajikistan Sunday. The late monsoon in Andhra Pradesh has created a problem for the organisers throughout the tournament. The turf at Gachi Bowli stadium turned slushy after heavy rains in the semifinals Thursday and the match was almost called off. It eventually started late.

Since then it has rained continuously. The Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium in the heart of the city, and the venue for the third place match between Myanmar and North Korea, is in very bad shape.

The AFC officials are inspecting the venues Saturday and will take a decision only in the evening but they don’t have many options in hand. If the condition of the grounds do not improve, they have to hold the final in some other city in a week’s time.

Another option is to hold the match after a month but that would be very difficult because in three weeks the domestic tournament will be in full swing in India.

In such a case, it seems that if the matches are not held Sunday, they would be shifted to either Delhi or Kolkata in a week’s time. Delhi’s Ambedkar Stadium stands a better chance to hosts the matches.

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