Mon, 30 Nov, -0001
Kuala Lumpur: Three South Asian clubs are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for favourable groups as the stage for the tenth and last draw for the AFC President’s Cup is set in AFC House.
Central Asian countriries are the dominant forces in the competition and the trophy has been lifted only once by an ASEAN as well as an East Asian representative.
This time around, clubs from the Philippines, Chinese Taipei and Cambodia failed to make the final cut, while DPR Korea side Rimyongsu are making their debut on the continental stage.
Mongolian giants Erchim, who made their tournament debut in 2013, are playing the finals for the first time. Turkmenistan’s FC HTTU are also making their maiden appearance in the finals, and with clubs from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are already playing in the AFC Cup, they are the only side flying the Central Asian flag in the competition.
From next year, the league champions of AFC President’s Cup playing nations (if they fulfill AFC requirements) will be joining the AFC Cup qualification stage. The tenth AFC President's Cup to be held in Sri Lanka in September will, therefore, be the last edition of the competition.
South Asian teams have never won this competition despite playing in the finals three times. In 2007 Mahendra Police Club of Nepal were beaten by Dordoi Dyanmo, and in 2012 and 2013 Palestine’s Al Am’ari and KRL Football Club of Pakistan were defeated in the final by Istiqlol of Tajikistan and Balkan of Turkmenistan respectively.
Today’s draw will feature Bangladesh Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra, Sri Lankan Air Force and Manang Marsyangdi of Nepal alongside debutants Rimyongsu, Erichm and FC HTTU.