Praise for new AFC 'emerging' nations Cup

Pakistan Football Federation president, Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, has praised the Asian Football Confederation's plans for a new competition for the continent's 'emerging' football nations. "These 17 countries need time to catch up and close the gap on the more advanced nations in Asia. It is hoped that the new competition will enlarge awareness about football in these countries and accelerate the game's development there," he said.

Although the AFC already holds the President's Cup for clubs from smaller footballing nations (won by Tajikistan’s Regar TadAZ at Kathmandu last May), the AFC Challenge Cup is a competition for national teams.

Debuting in 2006, the competition will be held on a biennial basis in a single country, with all expenses to be borne by AFC. The first event will feature Afghanistan, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Guam, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan and Timor Leste.