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Ahead of the 2013 edition of Challenge Cup qualifiers, presents an introductory article as we list out the 10 things you must know about the tournament...

We are just hours away from the start of the Challenge Cup qualifiers, and the anticipation surrounding the tournament couldn't have been any more intense.

So, in a build up to the event, presents the fan with an introductory article, as we roughly chalk out 10 things that you must know about the tournament.

The Origin...

In 2006, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) divided their 46 member nations into three groups. The Challenge Cup was then designed to feature the countries of the emerging associations class, the bottom-most among the 3 groups.

However, over the four editions, various developing and developed nations have also taken part in the tournament, most notably India, DPR Korea, Maldives, Myanmar, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

However, there was no qualification process for the 2006 Challenge Cup with all the teams directly entering the main tournament. From the next edition onwards, a qualification process started.

Tajikistan Win The Inaugural Tournament..

The first tournament was hosted by Bangladesh in 2006, with Tajikistan winning the tournament, beating Sri Lanka in the final.

India and DPR Korea Follow..

The second edition saw India host the tournament in 2008, which they themselves went on to win beating defending Champions Tajikistan 4-1 in the final.

           India Won The 2008 Edition Of Challenge Cup

Sri Lanka was the destination for the third edition in 2010, and it was DPR Korea who embraced glory this time around, with a narrow win on penalties against Turkmenistan in the final. DPR Korea then went on to successfully defend their title as they won the 2012 edition of the Challenge Cup held in Nepal where they won the final against Turkmenistan by 2-1.

An Unlikely Record Holder..

Sri Lanka's Kasun Jayasuriya holds the record of scoring the most number of goals in a single edition of the Challenge Cup qualifers. He scored 5 goals in the 2008, as well as 2010 Challenge Cup qualifiers.

The Other Prolific Scorers...

Ibrahim Fazeel of the Maldives scored 4 goals in the 2010 qualifiers while a host of names scored 3 goals each in the 2008 qualifiers, they were Ju Manu Rai of Nepal, Muhammad Qasim of Pakistan, Channa Ediri Bandanage of Sri Lanka, Numonjon Hakimov and Yusuf Rabiev of Tajikistan all scored 3 goals each in the 2008 qualifiers.

India's Golden Boy..

Jeje Lalpekhlua was India's top scorer in the qualifiers for India, with a total of four goals in the 2012 edition..

Non Entrants..

Three teams will not be taking part in the qualification for the 2014 Challenge Cup, with Bhutan and Timor Leste being non entrants and DPR Korea's status has been uplifted and they will no longer participate in this tournament.


dia had fielded an u-20 team for the 2006 Challenge Cup, as they directly entered the tournament without playing qualifiers, as they were preparing to host the AFC Youth Championships.

The Debutants..

The Northern Mariana Islands will be making their first appearance in the Challenge Cup qualifiers this year.

The Incentive..

And just in case you didn't know yet, winning the tournament would seal an automatic berth for that nation in the prestigious Asia Cup 2015 in Australia.

Do You Have Any Interesting Trivia Related To The Challenge Cup Up Your Sleeves? Do Share It With Us..

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