Kuala Lumpur: The Northern Mariana Islands will make its debut in the AFC Challenge Cup 2014 whose qualifying draw will be held on 25 October 2012 at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur.
The Northern Mariana Islands is one of 20 nations confirmed to be participating member associations who had expressed their interest to take part before the deadline of 7 September 2012.
Founded in 2005, the Northern Mariana Islands FA became a full member of the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) in 2008. In July 2009, it became a provisional member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after resigning its membership from the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).
The other participants are Afghanistan, Brunei DS, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Guam, India, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
DPR Korea, the 2010 edition winners, were again the champions this year after beating Turkmenistan 2-1 in March in Nepal while the Philippines defeated Palestine 4-3 to emerge third place winners.
The AFC Challenge Cup is the pathway for the champions to gain a qualification to the top continental championship, the AFC Asian Cup.