Pakistan sunk 3-0 in final Maldives clash

The Maldives National Football Team on Thursday (February 14) won the second of two friendly matches held against Pakistan in Male’ this week – bouncing back after conceding a last minute equaliser in their opening fixture played two days earlier.

The Maldives were convincing winners during Thursday’s game, which ended 3-0, despite some near misses from the visitors early on during the game, according to Pakistan-based publication, ‘The News International‘.

After squandering a one goal lead against Pakistan during the final touch of their first friendly first game the Maldives sealed victory Thursday night through three second-half goals from Mohamed Umair and captain Ali Ashfaq. Ashfaq scored twice in the 67th and 90th minute of the match.

Despite the seemingly one-sided final score, local media reported that both teams started the match brightly, with Pakistan’s Denmark-based attacker Hasan Bashir rattling the home-side’s cross bar with a strike in the opening ten minutes of the game.

The Maldives also came close to scoring during the first half with a close range header that went wide in the 27th minute of the match.

Ten minutes later, the Maldives Mohamed Arif once again hit the post with a powerful shot, according to media reports.

With the first half ending in a stalemate, Mohamed Umair opened the scoring for the hosts with a long range effort in the 59th minute.

Maldives Captain sealed the win eight minutes later, before netting a second in the final minute of standard time.

Pakistan’s two friendly matches in Male’ were held as part of the national squad’s preparation ahead of its first qualifying matches for the 2014 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup.


Pakistan football squad to face Maldives in preparation for tournament qualifiers

Pakistan’s national football team is to tour the Maldives in February ahead of attempts to qualify for the 2014 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup, according to media reports.

The Express Tribune news service has reported that the Pakistan squad will play matches both in Nepal and the Maldives as part of back-to-back tours later next month.  Pakistan will start its campaign to qualify for the 2014 Challenge Cup begin in Kyrgyzstan in March.

Dates for the Maldives tour are yet to be announced by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).

In addressing the proposed tours, PFF secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi claimed that both the Maldives and Nepal would present competitive training for the upcoming AFC tournament qualifiers.

“We are expecting a good result in these international tours as the team has polished their scoring abilities,” he told the Express Tribune.


Bottom of the table Maldives seek first points in final Under-22 qualifier

The Maldives Under-22 football squad will face off against their Kuwaiti counterparts tomorrow in their final qualifying match for next year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-22 Championships.

With tournament qualification in Group C already sealed by Iran and Kuwait, the Maldives, who presently sit at the foot of the same table, face a daunting challenge as they look to seal their first points during the final match of their current campaign.

In the Maldives’ previous game yesterday, the squad were defeated 2-1 by Bahrain after a 61st minute Ahmed Nazim equaliser was cancelled out by a late second-half goal from Hassan Abdqaheri.

The loss came on the back of a 7-0 thrashing by top of the table Iran on Thursday (June 28) and two previous qualifying defeats at the hands of Tajikistan and Qatar.

According to the AFC, the top two teams in each of the seven qualifying groups will qualify for the inaugural Under-22 championship along with the best third-place team. The championship is expected to serve as the official Asian qualifiers for future Olympic tournaments.


Maldives sunk by late Tajikistan brace during AFC Under-22 qualifier

Maldivian efforts to qualify for the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC’s) Under-22 football championships were further setback yesterday after the squad  squandered a first-half lead against Tajikistan by conceding two late goals.

Striker Imaaz Ahmed gave the Maldives a narrow first-half lead inside stoppage time to put the Under-22 team on course to secure its first points in qualification.

However, the team was eventually undone in the second-half by a late equaliser and a stoppage time own-goal that left the squad rooted at the foot of the Group C table.

Tajikistan substitute Jahongir Ergashev’s strike in the 81st minute of the match brought the teams equal, before an own goal by Thoriq Mohammed in the dying moments of the game ensured the Maldives remained the only team without a point in their championship group.  The match was one in a series of qualifying games being held in Malaysia this month.

The squad will next be in action on Thursday, when they meet an Iranian side undefeated during qualification, according to the AFC.

Late goals have proven to be an issue for the Maldives during its current run of qualifying matches.  The team also conceded a brace of late goals against Qatar during their previous Group C encounter on Saturday (June 23).

Tajikistan will now face Kuwait, while Bahrain will take on Qatar during the next round of matches in Group C scheduled for this week.


Maldives to face India ahead of football Challenge Cup

The Maldives national football team is expected to face India for a friendly match in July ahead of next year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup finals.

The match, expected to be played during the next few weeks at an unspecified location, will form part of India’s own preparation for upcoming qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup tournament, according to sports news website,

Back in March, the Maldives’ national stadium in Male’ hosted every single Group C qualifying match for the 2012 Challenge Cup, with the home team coming out on top to qualify for the finals alongside second place Tajikistan.

Following its qualification for the 2012 Challenge Cup, the Maldives is also expected to find out next week if it has been chosen as the tournament’s host nation. The tournament is contested two years every two years among a number of second tier national football teams represented by the AFC and has been held in 2010, 2008 and 2006 in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh respectively.


Maldives enters race to host AFC Challenge Cup tournament

The Maldives has joined Nepal and Palestine in the running to become the host nation for next year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup finals.

According to the Asian football association, the three nations have been asked to sign the confederation’s Organising Association Agreement (OAA) and agree to its last of requirements in order to stand as possible host candidates for the event, which is held contested every two years among a number of second tier national football teams represented by the AFC.

The hosting decision is expected to be made by June 14, 2011, with all three potential nations standing to hold a major AFC finals event for the first time.

Back in March, the Maldives’ national stadium in Male’ hosted every single Group C qualifying match for the 2012 Challenge Cup finals, with the home team coming out on top to qualify alongside second place Tajikistan.

The last three challenge cups taking place in 2010, 2008 and 2006 took place in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh respectively.


Maldives finishes top of AFC Challenge Cup group after Tajikistan draw

The Maldives’ national football team has inched past rivals Tajikistan to finish top of their qualifying group for next year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup finals on the basis of goal difference following a 0-0 draw between the two nations in Male’ yesterday.

After winning the opening two qualifying matches in Group C, which have all been hosted this week at the national stadium in Male’, a goalless draw with second place Tajikistan was enough for the Maldives to finish leaders of their group after scoring a higher number of goals.

According to the AFC table, in subtracting the number of goals conceded to those scored, the Maldives finished above its second place rival 5-4.

However, the draw between the top two teams of group C proved to be a very different game to the day’s other match held in Male’; where Cambodia finished at the bottom of their respective qualifying table after losing to Kyrgyzstan 4-3.

Kyrgyzstan led the match from just five minutes in as Aziz Sydykov put them ahead before Kouch Sokumpheak responded with an equaliser by the 39th minute of the game. Cambodia still finished the half a goal down though after Rustem Usanov scored in stoppage time.

Cambodia’s Sokumpheak responded once again to open the scoring in the second half to ensure the game remained 2-2 up until ten minutes before the final whistle.

Cholponbek Esenkul Uulu allowed Kyrgyzstan to once again take the lead in the 80th minute before scoring his second of the match five minutes later to put the score line at 4-2.

With just a minute to go until the final whistle, Cambodia’s Sok Rithy scored the team’s third goal of the match, but the effort wasn’t enough to prevent a third defeat out of the three qualifying games the team has played in Male’ this week.

With the qualifiers now concluded, the Maldives will compete with seven other nations including India, Turkmenistan and fellow Group C rival Tajikistan in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. A host nation has not yet been selected for the tournament but is expected to be drawn from among one of the eight finalists under AFC rules.

The last AFC Challenge Cup tournament was held in Sri Lanka during February 2010 and won by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


Maldives to host Asian football tournament qualifiers

The Maldives is to begin hosting qualifying matches for the AFC challenge Cup 2012 football tournament as of next month that will see teams from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau and Cambodia compete in the country for a spot in the 2015 Asian Cup.

Ali Azim, president of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) told Haveeru that the country had been chosen to host the group C matches between itself, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the victor of a playoff contested between Macau and Cambodia.

The paper reported that the Maldives has previously hosted similar qualifying matches back in 2009, ahead of the 2010 challenge cup.

However, the country finished in second place behind Turkmenistan during qualifying; losing out to Bangladesh, which qualified to the tournament as the group runner up with the highest goal difference.