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India’s bid submitted

New Delhi: India has submitted its bid to host the final rounds of the AFC Challenge Cup to be played in February-March 2014, on Monday. The winners of the tournament would automatically qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.

“We have already sent our bid and our chances of getting to stage the tournament is high,” said All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das.

In 2009, India hosted the AFC Challenge Cup after Thailand backed out at the last moment. Coached by Bob Houghton, India won the tournament, beating Tajikistan in the final and qualified for the Asian Cup for the first time in 24 years.

Das said the eight-team tournament could be held in two places — Delhi and Goa. “While the Nehru Stadium and Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi have floodlights, the same is available at Goa’s Nehru Stadium in Margao,” Das said.

India played in the AFC Challenge Cup early this year in Kathmandu but lost all their three matches in the group league.