The FA of Malaysia (FAM) announced that Afghanistan, ranked 147th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) ranking will replace Solomon Islands for the four-nation international competition, AIRMARINE Cup 2019 at National Stadium, Bukit Jalil, from 20th to 23rd March 2019.
That would complete the four-team lineup to compete in the AIRMARINE Cup 2019 which currently involves Malaysia, Singapore, Oman and Afghanistan.
Solomon Islands, ranked 143th in the FIFA ranking have contacted FAM yesterday to inform their withdrawal as they have overlooked the date of their International ‘A’ match against Chinese Taipei on 24th March 2019 which has already been agreed earlier, will take place just a day after the final matchday of the AIRMARINE Cup 2019.
The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) through its chief executive officer, Leonard Paia said that they have obtained approval from FIFA and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) for the International ‘A’ match against the Chinese Taipei, thus making them unable to join the AIRMARINE Cup 2019 which requires them to play two matches, on 20th and 23rd March 2019.
After receiving the statement from SIFF, FAM has taken immediate steps by contacting several potential countries to offer them a place to replace the vacated spot by Solomon Islands and eventually Afghanistan has came forward to formally confirmed their participation today to join the AIRMARINE Cup 2019.
With the participation of Afghanistan, the absence of Solomon Islands will not affect the AIRMARINE Cup 2019 because in terms of the quality of teams, Afghanistan’s position in the FIFA Ranking is roughly the same as Solomon Islands.
Four teams – Malaysia, Singapore, Oman and Afghanistan will undergo a draw ceremony on Monday, 4th March 2019 to determine their respective opponents for the AIRMARINE Cup 2019 semi-finals on 20th March 2019.
Winners of those matches will meet in the AIRMARINE Cup 2019 final on March 23, 2019 while the two teams who lost in the semi-finals will take each other on for the third and fourth place match on the same day.