|By Khalis Rifhan
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that Vietnam will be hosting the 2014 Women’s Asian Cup after the Southeast Asian nation successfully navigated their way through the qualifiers to the tournament proper.
The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) had earlier expressed their intention to host the tournament – which was ratified by the AFC Executive Committee in April – but it all depended on the country’s progression from the qualifiers.
Vietnam ended the qualifiers as Group C winners, registering victories in all their three matches - scoring a staggering 24 goals and conceding none.
As a result of their qualification, the VFF and Eximbank rewarded the Vietnam women's team with a cash reward of USD 47,600.
The Group C qualifiers were hosted by Bahrain, who finished in a respectable third place, three points behind second-placed Hong Kong. Kyrgyzstan went home at the bottom of the table after losing all their matches.
Vietnam will be joined by fellow Southeast Asian countries Myanmar and Thailand after both ended the qualifiers at the top of their respective group.
Myanmar made it to the finals after edging out Chinese Taipei on goal difference in Group D as both teams finished on seven points, while Thailand had a relatively easy outing as they swept through their opponents with ease in Group B.
There is still a spot left undecided for the finals and Uzbekistan, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait will be battling it out for that in Group A, which will be played in Amman, Jordan from June 5 to June 9.
The three Southeast Asian countries will join Australia, China, Japan and South Korea, who all have earned direct entry to the competition, which is scheduled to be held in May next year.
The AFC Women's Asian Cup was first held in 1975 in Hong Kong, with New Zealand clinching the inaugural trophy after their 3-1 win over Thailand. Australia and Malaysia finished in third and fourth place respectively.
Australia won their first title in 2010, seeing off 2008 champions North Korea in a penalty shoot-out after the match ended 1-1 in regulation time.
China has won the competition a record eight times, while Chinese Taipei and North Korea have each clinched the title on three occasions.