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The Hero Gold Cup, a four-nation tournament in women's football is all set to begin today in Bhubaneshwar's Kalinga Stadium. The tournament will be going on till the 15th of this month and it is being organised in association with the Odisha State Government. The teams in the four-way tournament include India, Iran, Myanmar and Nepal. The top two teams will compete for the final glory on the 15th. The tournament is being organised as a part of an exposure tournament before the second round of qualification process for the Tokyo Olympics begin. AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das was quoted as saying by IANS, “The tournament is meant to provide an opportunity to the Indian team to face other teams in a competitive format. This will warm up the teams ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Qualification Round 2.” “Through our collaboration with the AIFF, we have already made Odisha the youth football hub by housing the Under-15 and Under-19 teams in the state. We are also committed to the development of women’s football and our support to the Gold Cup is one of the many things we plan to do on that front,” said state Sports Secretary Vishal Dev. When it comes to the World rankings of the four teams in the fray, India is ranked third out of the four teams in Asia at 12th. According to the latest FIFA rankings, Myanmar is ranked ninth in Asia while Iran is ranked eleventh. Nepal is down at 20th in the continent. In addition to India, the three other teams are also in the competition in the Olympic qualifiers Round 2.
The fixture for the Hero Gold Cup is as follows: February 9: Myanmar vs Nepal (4pm). India vs IR Iran (7pm). February 11: Myanmar vs IR Iran (4pm). India vs Nepal (7pm). February 13: IR Iran vs Nepal (4pm). India vs Myanmar (7pm). February 15: FINAL.All matches of the Hero Gold Cup slated to kick-off at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar from Saturday (February 9, 2019) will be streamed live on Hotstar. The Indian women, coached by Maymol Rocky are currently preparing for the second round of the AFC Olympic Qualifiers slated to be held in April. They are currently unbeaten in the last 4 Friendlies against Hong Kong and Indonesia, and will also be playing in the SAFF Women’s Championship in March.