AFC Cup 2019: Minerva Punjab to play first home match against Manang Marshyangdi at Kalinga Stadium

Chennaiyin FC
Former I-League champions have got clearance from the Odisha Sports Authority to use the Kalinga Stadium only for their first home match...

Minerva Punjab have got the necessary permissions from the Odisha FA to host their first AFC Cup home match against Manang Marshyangdi on May 1, Goal can confirm.

Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj held a meeting with top officials of the Odisha Sports Authority on April 11 in Bhubaneswar. In the meeting he was granted permission to host only the first home match on May 1.

"Minerva have been allowed to host its first home match on May 1 in Bhubaneswar. I am extremely grateful to Vishal Kumar Dev (Commissioner-cum-Secretary of Sports & Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha) and Vineel Krishna (Director, Sports & Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha) for allowing us to play here (Bhubaneswar). All the arrangements including flight tickets and hotel bookings of AFC officials are in place. It will also help us to escape any possible fines," said Bajaj to Goal.

But Minerva must find an alternative venue to host the remaining two matches as renovations are going to start from the next month at the Kalinga, as it prepapres itself to be one of the venues for the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup next year.

Minerva are in talks with Goa FA so that they can hold their matches at the Bambolim Stadium. But the club is also looking at other possible venues like the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, Balewadi Stadium in Pune and the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, Goal has learnt.

The Chandigarh-based club started their AFC Cup campaign with a 0-0 draw against Indian Super League (ISL) side Chennaiyin FC and will next travel to Bangladesh to lock horns against Dhaka Abahani.