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Oh No. Asia Cup Again?
asiachamp.jpgThe next Asia Cup will be held in 2007, and co-hosted by four (yes, 4) Southeast Asian countries. Now, don't get me started on the inevitable logistical/organizational problems that swim around in my mind when I contemplate this. Let's put that aside for now.

So what am I so ticked off about? Well, a couple things. One, this 4-country co-hosting idea means that 4 southeast asian countries will get an automatic entry to participate in the Asia Cup. These four countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Their current FIFA ranking are: 91, 111, 88, 94 respectively.

On the other hand, unlike the previous Asia Cup, where the current champions get to sit out of the qualifying rounds, this time they are requiring Japan to play the 6 home and away games to qualify for one of the 12 slots. The first two games will be held on February 22 and March 1 of 2006. The groups have not been decided yet.

I don't know what the resoning behind this was. Do they feel that current champions have the duty to play in the qualifying matches to create excitement and interest in the opponent countries? Or is it that giving four automatic berths to the host countries will mean an odd number for the groups and Japan needs to fill the open spot? Or do they just feel that allowing Japan to sit out of the qualifying round will give us an unfair advantage over the other Asian countries who are also trying to prepare for the World Cup but have to participate in the Asia Cup qualifiers too?

I don't know. I guess we should look on the bright side and say that this will be a chance for Zico to call up new players to the team and test them out one last time before the World Cup.
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