Kuala Lumpur:The stage is set for the South Zone of the AFC Cup™ 2022 with Group D to kick off in Kolkata on May 18 as Indian sides ATK Mohun Bagan and Gokulam Kerala as well as Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings and Maziya S&R of the Maldives get set to battle it out for a place in the Inter-Zone semi-finals.
Since the introduction of the zonal format five years ago, a number of stars from the region have shone on the continental stage, none more so than Indian icon Sunil Chhetri, who inspired Karnataka side Bengaluru FC to the knockout rounds in 2017 and 2018.
Elsewhere, Sohel Rana has been among the Bangladeshi players to produce the goods, while the evergreen Ali Ashfaq is always the standout name from a Maldivian perspective.
Ahead of the South Zone beginning in just a few days’ time, the-AFC.com has selected some players to keep an eye out for in the 2022 edition.
Kuala Lumpur: With 15 of the 17 AFC Cup™ winners over the years coming from West Asia, the region has long since been dominant in the continental competition.
Since the tournament’s zonal format was introduced in 2017, meanwhile, all four eventual champions have emerged from the West Zone, and teams from that side of the continent will likely be favourites ahead of the rapidly approaching 2022 edition.
As new stars hope to emerge when the campaign kicks off on May 18, the-AFC.com looks back at some of those who lit up the West Zone group stage in recent years.
Central Asia’s generation next on show in CAFA U16 Championship
Dushanbe: Regional bragging rights will be on the line as Central Asia’s stars of the future compete for the CAFA U16 Championship, starting from Friday in Tajikistan.
Five nations will compete for the title in the eight-day round-robin event, with all teams to cross paths once before the final Matchday on May 20.
The competition also serves as crucial preparation for October’s AFC U17 Asian Cup™ 2023 Qualifiers, with the continent’s elite youth competition set for a full-scale return in 2023 following disruption due to COVID-19.