2014 Challenge Cup qualification: Palestine drawn alongside Bangladesh, Nepal, & NMI

Palestine have been drawn in Group D for the upcoming 2014 Challenge Cup qualification tournament due to be held from March 2-6, 2013. Five group winners alongside the two best runners-up will qualify for the 2014 Finals in the Maldives. Palestine’s group will be hosted by Nepal and includes Bangladesh and Challenge Cup debutants Northern Mariana Islands who became an Associate Member of the AFC earlier this year.

Palestine has twice faced Bangladesh and Nepal at previous Challenge Cup competitions. Al-Fida’i beat Bangladesh 2-0 during the qualification phase for the 2012 edition and went on to beat Nepal in the opening game of the 2012 finals by the same score. Previous encounters with Bangladesh and Nepal in Challenge Cup play have ended in a 0-0 and 1-1 draw, respectively.

This will be Palestine’s first ever match against the Northern Mariana Islands- an American Commonwealth in the Pacific with a population of less than 62,000. Despite its associate membership in the AFC, NMI is not a member of FIFA and the result of this match will not enter FIFA’s registry. 

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