India Gets AFC Nod To Host 2023 Asian Cup Third Round Qualifiers In Kolkata

India has qualified for Asian Cup four times so far. It finished runner-up in 1964 while in 1984, 2011 and 2019, it failed to get past the group stage.

The third round qualifiers of 2023 Asian Cup will take place in Salt Lake Stadium starting June 8.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has accepted the Indian body's bid to host the third round of the 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers, which are scheduled to be held from June 8 this year. (More Football News)

The third round qualifiers will be held at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata across three match days on June 8, 11 and 14 this year.  

China will host the main tournament in 2023.

"We had bid to host the third round qualifiers of the AFC Asian Cup, and are grateful to the Asian Football Confederation for accepting our bid," All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das said.

"We understand that playing at home, and that too in Kolkata will be an added advantage to the Blue Tigers in our quest to qualify for the Asian Cup."

India has qualified for the Asian Cup four times earlier -- 1964, 1984, 2011 and 2019. The team had finished runners-up in 1964 which has been the best performance so far. It had failed to get past the group stage in the other three editions it had taken part.

In the last edition, the Indian team secured a fine victory over Thailand but had failed to make it to the knock-outs narrowly.

"We had bid with Kolkata as the venue for the qualifiers. The infrastructure in Kolkata is exceptionally suited to host the qualifiers with the stadium, the practice venues and official accommodation all very closely located," Das said. 

"The support from the host association, and the state government has also always been exemplary.

"We hope that the health parameters in June will allow fans to witness live action in the stadium."

The group winners and the five best second-placed teams will earn tickets to the tournament proper, which is slated to kick off on June 16, 2023. 

The draw for the final leg of the qualifiers is scheduled for February 24 in Kuala Lumpur.

"While 13 teams, including host China PR, have already qualified by virtue of their earlier performances in the second round of the AFC Asian Qualifiers, the final 11 places remain up for grabs for 24 teams in the decisive group stage to be held in June across all five AFC zones in six host nations -- India, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia and Uzbekistan," the AFC said in a statement.

The AFC also confirmed that based on the FIFA world rankings as of February 10, the 24 participating teams will be divided into five seeding pots, including the host association's pot.

With a current ranking of 104, India will be placed in position 1 of the group that they are drawn in.