AFC approves Northern Mariana Islands Football Association on becoming full members

The Northern Mariana Islands have been a member of EAFF (East Asian Football Federation) since December 2006, but have not been an AFC member. That is until a recent AFC (Asian Football Confederation) congress. 

AFC congress approves Northern Mariana Islands full membership

An AFC congress took place on the 9th December, and one topic that was on the agenda, was the small matter of, 'should The Northern Mariana Islands be accepted as a full AFC member? The nation have built up a close working relationship with other AFC members within the region, which no doubt helped when it come to voting in or out for The Northern Mariana Islands.

The fact that the vote passed with most national associations agreeing to vote yes to the full membership goes to show that next to none of the national associations within the AFC had any problems with them joining as a full member. 

It also goes to show the amount of hard work they have been putting into the national side over the years. They may be a young team, they may be an up-and-coming team from a small island nation, but no one can deny that they deserve this chance on the back of the work they have been putting into the national team.

No one is expecting them to match the likes of Japan or even countries like Taiwan for example, but there is no reason why one day they cannot match the relative success which was enjoyed by Guam a few years back when they hit the worlds attention during World Cup Qualifying. As we go forward, this means there will be one more nation in the qualifying pot for the next Asian Cup after 2023. 

The Northern Mariana Islands can now enter Asian Cup qualifying, but not World Cup qualifying as they are not a FIFA member, but surely that is the next step on the development process of a young footballing nation. 

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