Preview: Tough Group B set to thrill
Yogyakarta: Futsal fever is set to heat up as the top 16 teams get set for the AFC Futsal Club Championship 2018 in Yogyakarta on August 1-12. the-AFC.com previews the four teams in Group B.
Thai Son Nam FC (VIE)
Previous Appearances: 4
Best finish: Third - 2015, 2017
Thai Son Nam will be featuring in their fifth continental club competition following commendable outings in 2015 and 2017, finishing third on both occasions.
An intimidating fact for their Group B opponents is that nine players from the Vietnam national team who featured in the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship Chinese Taipei hail from Thai Son Nam FC.
The most decorated club in Vietnam futsal history, with five Vietnam Futsal League titles, Thai Son Nam FC will be a force to be reckoned with.
Al Dhafra (UAE)
Previous Appearance: 1
Best finish: Quarter-finals
Al Dhafra FC will be playing in their second AFC Futsal Club Championship following their impressive maiden outing in the 2017 edition where they reached the last eight.
The UAE-based club topped their group on head-to-head after finishing level on points with Thai Son Nam and FC EREM of Kyrgyz Republic with six.
Al Dhafra, however slipped tp a 4-3 defeat against Qatar’s Al Rayyan in the quarter-finals.
Nafit Al Wasat (IRQ)
Previous Appearances: 3
Best finish: Semi-finals - 2016
Nafit Al-Wasat have been impressive since making their debut in the AFC Futsal Club Championship three years ago.
Despite not much being expected in 2015, the Iraqi side defied all expectations by topping a tough group featuring Chonburi Blue Wave and Al Rayyan SC of Qatar, before losing to eventual champions Tasisat Daryaei in the semi-finals.
Nafit continued their fairytale in the 2016 edition, surging to their first-ever final before losing agonisingly on penalties to Japan’s Nagoya Oceans after an enthralling 4-4 draw at the Bangkok Arena.
Their exploits in the last edition saw them topping their group again ahead of Al Rayyan, before falling 4-0 to Thai Son Nam in the last eight.
Jeonju MAG FC (KOR)
Five-time FK-League champions Jeonju MAG FC will step into the arena as one of the debutants in Yogyakarta.
Jeonju will be creating history when they open their account against Thai Son Nam on August 1 as the first Korea Republic team to make an appearance in the competition’s history.
The club will rely on forward Jo Byung-girl, who featured in the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship in Chinese Taipei, to spearhead their attack.