Maldives has won the bid to host Group D matches for the AFC Cup, with the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) winning the bid to have matches of the South Asian teams played in the island nation.
FAM President Bassam Adeel Jaleel shared the news on his personal twitter account on Monday. In the tweet, Bassam detailed that Maldives had won the bid to host all of Group D's matches in the AFC Cup. While Maziya Sports and Recreation have already claimed one slot in Group D, it is expected that Club Eagles will be able to attain the final available spot from Group D prior to the beginning of AFC Cup Group Stage matches.
While the AFC had made the decision to have this year's group stage matches be held through a centralized system due to the Covid-19 pandemic, neighboring India also bid to host the Group D matches against Maldives.
Club Eagles will represent Maldives in the South Asia Group for the qualifiers, while reigning DDPL champions Maziya Sports and Recreation Club have secured a straight line into the group stage for the 2021 AFC Cup. Maziya will be joined in the Group Stage by India's Mohun Bagan FC and Bangladeshi champions Bashundhara Kings.
With the team that dominates qualifying matches moving forward to claim the last remaining spot in the group stage, Club Eagles, who closed last season's DDPL in second place, will be competing to claim that spot against India's Bengaluru FC, Abhani Limited Dhaka representing Bangladesh, Nepal's Army Club, Sri Lanka's Police FC and Thimpu City FC from Bhutan.
The current schedule for the 2021 AFC Cup will see the South Asian group preliminaries, play-offs and group stages matches conducted between 14 and 20 May.