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U-23 football team set to play 5 friendlies in training camp

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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During next month’s training camp, the Under 23 National Football Team will play five friendly matches at Lhaviyani atoll.

The squad is training for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualification games, which will take place in October. While the team’s coaching staff was named on August 10, it includes Ali Suzain as the head coach of the team.

While Suzain has subsequently been named interim coach of the men’s national football team for the forthcoming 13th SAFF Championship, he discussed the U-23 team’s plans for the AFC Asian Cup qualifying games during a press conference held by the senior team coaching staff last Thursday. However, he emphasized that his top objective right now is preparing the senior team for the SAFF Championship next month.

Sobah Mohamed Ibrahim and Mohamed Shahid, who were named assistant coaches for the U-23 team on August 10, are now in charge of the junior team.

While the team will be in Lhaviyani atoll from September 4 to 12, FAM began trials for the U-23 team last Saturday.

They will play five friendlies against N. Kudafari, N. Holhudhoo, Lh. Naifaru, R. Meedhoo, and Lh. Hinnavaru, and Suzain has already stated that athletes from these teams will be scouted for the 30-player roster.

Whereas the team will be training at Lhaviyani Atoll in the following month, they will also compete in the AFC U-23 Asian Cup next year. The qualifying matches for Group C, which includes the Maldives, Bahrain, Iraq, and Afghanistan, will be held in Bahrain from October 27 to October 31.

FAM has earlier stated that the team would train in Bahrain for ten days ahead to the qualification games.

The Maldives’ first encounter in the qualifying round will be against Iraq on October 27, followed by a match against Bahrain on October 29. On October 31, the U-23 team’s final group stage match will be against Afghanistan.

Back in July, 42 teams were divided into 11 groups, with 15 spaces available in the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022; Uzbekistan has already confirmed their place as hosts. A total of 16 teams will qualify to compete in the AFC U-23 Asian Cup, which will be held from June 1–19, 2022. The defending champion is South Korea.

The eleven group winners, as well as the four best runners-up, advance to the final tournament.

COVID 19

The Chinese Ambassador is hopeful for the second shipment of the vaccine gifted from China to arrive in the Maldives soon.

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Chinese Ambassador in the Maldives, Wang Lixin has said that she expects the second shipment of Covid vaccines from China to arrive in the Maldives soon. Her Excellency Wang Lixin said this in a tweet last week Tuesday after a meeting with Maldives Health Minister Ahmed Naseem.

In this meeting with the health minister, it was discussed to strengthen the relationship between the 2 countries and work together as per the agreement between President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and the President of China, Xi Jinping. Discussions have been made to improve the health benefits between the 2 countries as well. On this note, the Chinese Ambassador has said that 4 there are 400,000 doses of the Sinopharm Vaccine on its way to the Maldives.

The first batch of vaccines donated by China was received at the beginning of this year with 2 lakh vaccine doses. After which, it was announced two months ago that 4 lakh doses were donated again by China. China is the one country that has donated the highest number of vaccine doses to the Maldives with a sum of 6 lakh vaccine doses to fight against Covid-19.

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SAFF championship’s amended timetable with changes has been announced.

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The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), football tournament SAFF championship’s first match between Maldives and Nepal has been rescheduled to go on at night time, after the opening ceremony.

The schedule for the championship has been changed twice before as well. When the schedule has first released the dates given were from 1st-13th. But after review, the schedule was changed to abide by FIFA match day policies, giving enough days in between for the players to rest.

The government’s senior employees will be attending the opening ceremony event. The Maldives has previously won twice in this competition, which was in 2008 playing in Sri Lanka and in 2018 playing in Bangladesh. Both tournaments were won playing against India. The Maldives remains to be the competition defending champions, so the slogan for this year’s championship is “Thinvanah faharu miee ey faharu” which translates to “Third time is our chance”, aiming to win the championship cup for the third time.

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A Bangladesh Airline to start flights from Bangladesh to Maldives.

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Bangladesh’s biggest private airline the US- Bangla Airlines to has scheduled direct flights from Bangladesh to the Maldives.

US-Bangla Airlines flights will commence in November of this year. The airline will be traveling straight from the capital city of Bangladesh Dhaka city to Male’ city. It is reported that the scheduled flights will start in the middle of November with 4 flights per week. Bangladesh’s Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported that the flights used for this will be Boeing 737-800 flights.  That flight has a capacity of 164 persons.

US-Bangla Airline stated that it is an aim for the airline to have an easy way for persons who wish to travel to Bangladesh from the Maldives. And that this decision will help workers who are employed in the Maldives as well.

US-Bangla Airlines is working on having scheduled flights to Bangladesh from Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia as well. As of now, the airline has direct flights to Bangladesh from Dubai, Oman’s capital city Muskat, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Chennai, China, and Doha.

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