AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 Venues: All you need to know about the stadiums, training pitch, infrastructure, and more
AFC women's Asian Cup 2022 is all set to start from January 2022. The tournament will be hosted in Maharashtra.
India will be on the verge of history again as they will host the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 amid all the challenges. The quadrennial tournament will kick off from 20th January and will run till 6th February. There are a total of twelve teams divided into three groups as they will fight for the continental crown.
Although India are going through a rough phase with the increasing COVID-19 cases the All India Football Federation have taken all the measures to successfully conduct the prestigious tournament. The venues earlier were spread across Navi Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium, Bhubaneshwar's Kalinga Stadium and Ahmedabad's TranStadia.
However, to curb the spread of COVID-19 the AIFF decided to host the matches within the boundaries of Maharashtra. Therefore apart from DY Patil Stadium, the Mumbai Football Arena and Balewadi Stadium were named as the new venues for the tournament.
AIFF president and LOC Chairman, Praful Patel have highlighted how they have revamped all the three venues starting from their floodlights, pitches to dressing rooms and hospitality areas everything has been upgraded. A lot of training grounds have been built to meet international standards. "All facilities to be used for the prestigious AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 is ready," revealed Praful Patel. "Special care has been taken to make sure the best women footballers in Asia are provided with world-class infrastructure across the three venues and also the training sites."
Overall the venues and the training facilities are decked up and ready for action.
Balewadi Stadium (Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex- Pune)
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports Complex that commonly goes by the name Balewadi since its early days is one of the three stadiums hosting the continental crown. The stadium has a great legacy as it was the home for several I-League and ISL teams.
The defunct FC Pune City used to call the Balewadi their home and it was always lively whenever the Stallions took the field. In the past teams like Air India, DSK Shivajians, Pune FC, Bharat FC etc have called it their home.
The stadium has a capacity of 11,900 and has hosted the Khelo Indian Games in 2019. The stadium was also used back in the Commonwealth Games in 2008.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) President and LOC Chairman Praful Patel also revealed that all three stadiums have been renovated. He shared how new LED floodlights lights have been installed at the Balewadi apart from the up-gradation of the turf. The existing training pitches were upgraded with modern facilities. Whereas, two new pitches were made to cater the demands of the AFC Women's Asian Cup.
"The pitches at all venues have been significantly upgraded to support modern football," Patel added. "Other facilities including dressing rooms, media tribunes, broadcast compounds and hospitality areas have been refurbished. In Pune, new floodlights with LED panels have been installed. And now, we cannot wait for the teams to come to India and play their best game."
DY Patil Stadium (Navi Mumbai)
The DY Patil Stadium is the venue for the finals of the AFC Women's Asian Cup and it is surely the finest among the three assigned for the quadrennial tournament. The stadium has hosted matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup back in 2017. It has also featured cricket matches as Mumbai Indians used it for some of their during the Indian Premier League. The stadium has hosted two IPL finals and is one of the most well-equipped grounds in the country.
The stadium boasts a humongous capacity of 55,000 and has also hosted the first-ever Indian Super League final between ATK and Kerala Blasters. ISL side Mumbai City have previously used the ground briefly for their home games. The Indian women's team will play two matches at this venue against Iran (20th Jan) and Chinese Taipei (23rd Jan).
Apart from the DY Patil Stadium the Navi Mumbai Sports Association (NMSA) Training Ground and the Yashwant Rao Chawan Ground in Navi Mumbai have been renovated to meet international standards. Starting from the dressing rooms, pitch, etc everything have been upgraded. These two grounds will act as training facilities for teams during the tournament.
Two more training grounds have been built from scratch at the CIDCO Training Ground, which is the Centre of Excellence in Navi Mumbai.
Mumbai Football Arena (Andheri Sports Complex- Mumbai)
The Mumbai Football Arena is one of the few grounds made only for football in the country. The ground is very popular as it is the home ground of defending champions Mumbai City FC.
Even Bengaluru FC have good memories of this ground as they lifted their only ISL title here courtesy of a Rahul Bheke header. The Blues defeated FC Goa to win their maiden ISL title. The Mumbai Football Arena boasts a capacity of around 18,000 and has been a home ground to the Indian national team during the Intercontinental Cup.
The Mumbai Football Arena went through a thorough revamp as the pitch, floodlights, dressing room, referee rooms, media tribunes, hospitality area were upgraded or built to meet the LOC requirements for the AFC Women's Asian Cup.
It will be the venue for six matches at the continental tournament and the Blue Tigresses will play their last group fixture against China PR on Republic Day.