"The entire Uzbekistan football family as well as the government is looking forward with enthusiasm to this competition and we can assure you that everything will be ready to host the event," said the UFF chief.
"Since the first inspection in December 2007, we have already completed major renovations of the MHSK Stadium while the main stadium, Pakhtakor Stadium, is currently undergoing extensive work around the clock to meet AFC’s requirements," said Usmanov at a meeting with the AFC team prior to the inspection visit.
Indeed, during the two-day inspection visit, the AFC delegation was surprised by the progress that had been done by the Local Organising Committee since the first inspection. The delegation was taken to the possible official competition venues - the Pakhtakor, MHSK and Jar Stadiums. Visits were also conducted to the official training grounds.
The newly refurbished MHSK Stadium, costing an estimated US$6 million, now has new dressing rooms, referees’ rooms, medical room, comfortable individual seats for fans, plush seats for the media and more importantly for the players, and a playing surface fully imported from Europe.
Similarly, the Pakhtakor Stadium, when completed, is expected to be the best stadium in the country and looks set to host all of the national team’s matches.
Complimenting the UFF’s work, Ogura said, "On behalf of the Organising Committee, we are delighted to see the commitment of the LOC. So far, on what we have seen, I am happy to say, we made the right decision in coming to Uzbekistan. They have made a lot of progress in a short period of time."
The Organising Committee for AFC Youth Competition is set to make a decision on the final choice of venues for the competition at its meeting in Tashkent on the morning of the draw ceremony. The Committee will be deliberating on three choices: the Pakhtakor stadium, MHSK stadium and the Jar stadium. Two stadiums are needed to host the 16-team competition in October 2008.