The attention of the footballing world shifts to India, the games Asian chief Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said on Wednesday in a message ahead of the women's continental showpiece in Mumbai.
The 20th edition of women's AFC Asian Cup will kick off when eight-time champions China face Chinese Taipei in Thursday's first match at Mumbai Football Arena. Hosts India open their campaign against Iran in Thursday's second match at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
The third venue of the tournament is the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.
“The attention of the footballing world shifts to India tomorrow, and I wish all teams the very best in the tournament. Your performances on the pitch will be watched by millions worldwide including young girls who will aspire to follow in your footsteps,” Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman said in his message.
“The AFC Women's Asian Cup is a competition that is rich in history and continues to be the catalyst for the development of women's football in Asia.
“I must thank all the participating teams, our stakeholders and the Local Organising Committee for sharing the AFC's ambitions to organise the AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 with the health and safety of everyone as our highest priority.”
On Friday, reigning champions Japan begin their title defence against Myanmar in Pune. The 2010 champions and runners-up in the last two editions Australia face Indonesia, who are making their first appearance in the tournament since 1986, at Mumbai Football Arena on Friday.
The AFC Women's Asian Cup will boast a stellar field of international icons like Sam Kerr of Australia, who recently finished second in both Ballon d'Or and the FIFA Best Awards, Saki Kumagai of Japan, and Ji So-yun of Korea Republic, while emerging talents are expected to light up the showpiece.