AFC President hails Kyrgyz Republic for historic qualification

AFC President hails Kyrgyz Republic for historic qualification



Kuala Lumpur: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated Kyrgyz Republic after the Central Asian side confirmed their qualification for the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in history.
The White Falcons sealed an emphatic 5-1 victory over Myanmar at the Incheon Football Stadium, in the Korea Republic on Thursday and will now join India from Group A of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers Final Round.
Shaikh Salman said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to Kyrgyz Republic for this remarkable achievement.
“I must also commend the Football Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic for their hard work and commitment to develop the game and their qualification for the crowning jewel of the AFC’s competitions is a testament to their exemplary efforts.
“The decision to expand the AFC Asian Cup, from 16 to 24 teams, was taken to provide more opportunities to our Member Associations and to engage with more fans than ever before and I am confident this achievement will serve to inspire tomorrow’s generation of fans and players in the Kyrgyz Republic.” 
With Kyrgyz Republic securing their spot, the cast for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 has grown to 21 teams, with just five teams now in the running for the three available places, setting up a captivating finale on the final match day of the qualifiers on March 27.
All eyes will be on the Group B tie between DPR Korea and Hong Kong at the Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang in DPR Korea, with the home side needing only a draw to secure their spot with their opponents needing nothing less than a victory.
The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 is poised to see another two teams qualify for their first-ever tournament with just two points separating leaders Philippines from Tajikistan and Yemen who are both tied on seven points in Group F.
Victory for either Philippines or Tajikistan will secure their berth when both sides face-off at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila with Yemen setting their sights on all three points in their home tie against Nepal at the Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday to guarantee their spot in the UAE.