The Asian Football Confederation has granted permission to the Tribhuvan Army Football Club to conduct the preliminary round match of the AFC Cup under floodlights at the Dasharath Stadium with a maximum of 50 per cent attendance.

The TAFC will host Sri Lanka Police Sports Club in the qualifying playoff first round match of the South Asia Zone on April 7.

The match was originally scheduled to kickoff at 3:00PM and the TAFC had requested the AFC to reconsider the kickoff time.

"We requested the AFC to change the kickoff time as we wanted to conduct the match under lights," said Lt Col Brajesh Maharjan, chief of the Nepali Army Physical Fitness and Sports Centre, at a press meet today.

The AFC also allowed the TAFC to conduct the match with 50 per cent attendance owing to the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.

Lt Col Maharjan said the TAFC would host the match under the auspices of All Nepal Football Association and that Nabin Neupane was looking after the football team for the game. The Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division League runners-up, the TAFC got the chance to participate in the qualifying playoff after league champions Machhindra FC failed to acquire the Club License from the AFC. The Asian football governing body has made the Club License mandatory to participate in its tournament and TAFC are the lone Nepali side to get the Club License so far.

Maharjan said the TAFC had set Rs 500 and Rs 300 for VIP and general parapet tickets respectively.

"We have estimated the budget of two million rupees to conduct the tournament and we are looking forward to meet the expenses from gate collection and broadcasting rights," he added.

Former national team goalkeeper, Maj Bikash Malla said the TAFC would field the best team and the department was hopeful to get it through to the second round. "A total of 25 players are currently preparing for the match and we will have the best team from among the available players," said Malla. "The Sri Lankan team is also strong with a couple of Ghana players but we are hopeful of winning the match and advance to the next round," he added.

ANFA Spokesperson Kiran Rai said the participating club was responsible of organising the match as per the rules of AFC. "We believe the TAFC will be representing the nation when they play against Sri Lanka Police in the match and the ANFA will not hesitate for any kind of help apart from providing technical support," said Rai. "But there will not be any financial sharing as it is the responsibility of the club to manage the resources to host the match," he added.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 3, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.