Aspiring Asian clubs will begin their quest for AFC Cup glory when Palestine’s Hilal Alquds Club host Sur Club from Oman at the Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium at 2pm local time tomorrow.
Hilal Alquds Club, aiming for a second straight appearance in the group stage of the AFC Cup, square off in the first leg of the play-off against Sur Club who are making their return to the competition for the first time since 2008.
The 2020 AFC Cup will be immensely significant for the participating teams, as for the first time-ever, the champions will automatically qualify for the 2021 AFC Champions League in the play-off stage.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “The AFC Cup will now provide a pathway for the winner of this year’s edition to earn a place in Asia’s greatest club competition.
“Every year, the competition in the AFC Cup grow stronger and we can expect another thrilling edition in 2020. As outlined in our Vision and Mission, the AFC is committed to growing our club competitions and in the last few editions, significant improvements have been made from – increasing the prize purse for the winner to increased travel subsidies for clubs.
“The AFC Cup exemplifies our ambitions to reach new territories to expand the passion for the game and to provide more Member Associations and clubs with the opportunity to develop through top-level competitions.
“I take this opportunity to wish all the clubs in the AFC Cup the best of luck and may the best team prevail in what is expected to be another pulsating contest which continues to excite fans on the Continent.”
The play-off action continues on January 22 with Lalenok United FC, the first club from Timor-Leste to compete in the AFC Cup, facing last year’s ASEAN Zonal semi-finalist PSM Makassar of Indonesia at the Capt. I Wayan Dipta Stadium.
On the same day, Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC from Cambodia play against Master7 FC from Laos at the National Olympic Stadium while Sri Lanka’s Defenders FC take on Paro FC from Bhutan at the Colombo Race Course Ground.
Brunei Darussalam’s Indera SC make their debut on home soil at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium against Myanmar’s Yangon FC at 8:15pm local time