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It is confirmed! The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said that the United Arab Emirates Football Association (UAE FA) has agreed to host the centralized Group A matches of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

The Philippines’ very own Azkals is one of the five teams in Group A that includes Syria, China PR, Maldives, and Guam. The remaining seven matches in this group will be confirmed soon after discussions with the participating teams and arrival schedules to the UAE are received according to the AFC.

“These are indeed unprecedented times for everyone, and, on behalf of the AFC, I would like to thank the UAE FA for agreeing to host the Group A matches of the Asian Qualifiers. The UAE FA’s commitment to host the matches within such a short lead time is testament to their spirit of understanding and organizational excellence, and we are confident that they will provide the best possible environment for our teams and players. The AFC outlined its desire to ensure the safe and successful resumption of the Asian Qualifiers and we are determined to deliver on our plans, keeping in mind the highest health protocols, for the benefit of all our participating teams, players, fans and key stakeholders,” according to AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John as he conveyed his appreciation to the UAE FA for their willingness to stage the Group A matches, particularly during these challenging times.

The United Arab Emirates will also provide the backdrop for the matches in Group G, which consists of the host as well as ASEAN challengers Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, which is scheduled to take place on June 3 at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium and the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai.

The Philippine Azkals are currently in Doha, Qatar for their training camp, originally scheduled to end yesterday, 31 May 2021. In a media release, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) said that the cancellation of the Group A matches in China PR has left a huge financial impact on the federation as it needed to cancel the chartered flight at the last minute.

The Azkals are slated to face Guam on 03 June 2021, China PR on 09 June 2021, and the Maldives on 15 June 2021.

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