DUSAHNBE, May 6, Asia-Plus  -- Tajik national football team today left fro Philippines to take part in qualifying round for the 2008 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup. 

The participating sixteen teams have been divided into four groups, with only the group toppers qualifying to join North Korea, Turkmenistan, India and Myanmar in the eight-team final round.  

In the qualifying round, Tajikistan will compete with Bhutan, Philippines, and Brunei.  According to Tajikistan’s Football Federation, Tajik soccer players will meet with Bhutan national team on May 13. 

The AFC Challenge Cup is a national football competition for emerging countries (those in the lowest (of three) categories as designed by the AFC president) that are members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).   The first tournament was held in 2006 in Bangladesh.  

The 2008 AFC Challenge Cup football tournament will be hosted by India from July 30 to August 10, 2008.  The winners of the 2008 and 2010 competitions will qualify for the Asian Cup 2011.  This competition is exclusive to the lower ranking Asian nations.