Maldives Soccer Betting Odds
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Head coach: Andrés Cruciani
Top scorer: Ali Ashfaq (20)
Home stadium: National Stadium
When the Maldives qualified for the final of the South Asian Football Federation Championship in Bangladesh (only to lose 5-3 to the hosts in the penalty shoot-out), the 280,000 inhabitants on the island were beside themselves with joy. Sixteen years after joining FIFA and six years after a 17-0 thrashing at the hands of Iran, the national team was given a rousing welcome of the kind reserved only for state visits when it landed back at the airport. Steady youth development work has formed a generation of evenly balanced, technically talented players. In the past few years, they have been working on every aspect of football development. Some of their activities include restructuring the association, appointing a national coach and technical manager, organising a referee coaching programme and a long-term training programme for coaches and courses as part of the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Solidarity.
On 2 June 2009, the Goal Bureau approved the renovation of the artificial turf pitch that was installed in the summer of 2002. The pitch had to be replaced because it was showing signs of wear and tear as a result of heavy use. It was possible to lay a new pitch that met all of the requirements by using foundations directly alongside the existing pitch.
AFC World Cup Qualifiers
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football in Asia. It has 46 member countries, mostly located on the Asian continent. Due to the disputed boundary of Europe and Asia, transcontinental nations such as Turkey and Russia are instead in the UEFA, whereas countries such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Israel are entirely in Asia (Central or Western Asia) and still members of the UEFA. On the other hand, Australia, formerly in the OFC, has been in the AFC since 2006, in the same way as the Oceanian nations of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, which are also members of AFC.