Despite the political chaos on the island, Male has confirmed it will host Tuesday’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup match between Bengaluru FC and Maldivian TC Sports Club. The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), in a letter to AFC, has assured its “highest consideration” to Bengaluru FC.
Promising all support to India’s top club, Lt Colonel Ahmed Thohir, Principal Director, Directorate of Administration and Personnel Services, assured the continental body that the game at Male’s National Stadium will take place as scheduled. The AFC, in turn, conveyed the confirmation to Bengaluru FC.
The MNDF letter, dated February 8, stated: “This is to certify that the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) will be providing the required and necessary assistance and support to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Football Association of Maldives for the upcoming match of Bangalore FC of India against TC Sports Club of Maldives to be played on 13th February 2018 in Male City in AFC Cup qualifying 2018. MNDF assures its highest consideration in the above matter.”
Bengaluru FC’s Chief Technical Officer Mandar Tamhane said the team will leave for Male Sunday. “We had approached AFC through the All India Football Federation to check the status of the match and if it is safe for us to play there in the prevailing circumstances. We have been assured by the AFC that it is safe and the match will go ahead as scheduled.” Tamhane told The Indian Express.
Bengaluru FC takes on TC Sports Club in the first leg of their playoff match Tuesday, with the return fixture to be played in Bengaluru on February 20. The winner will progress to the group stage of the continental club competition.