Indera SC’s ACC debut deferred to 2021

Fadhil Yunus

Indera SC will not make their maiden appearance in the inaugural ASEAN Club Championship (ACC) in the coming months following the recent announcement that the regional competition had been re-scheduled to next year amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Brunei Super League outfit were due to represent the country in the club football competition, which will involve 10 match days spread over five months in the regional schedule.

The remaining clubs that were scheduled to take part are Thailand teams Chiangrai United and Prachuap, Vietnamese teams Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, Indonesian teams Bali United and Persebaya, Singapore’s Tampines Rovers, Myanmar’s Shan United, Philippines’ Ceres-Negros, Cambodia’s Svay Rieng and Laos’ Lao Toyota.

Indera’s participation in the regional scene was made possible after meeting Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Club Licensing requirements, which allowed them entry in the AFC Cup earlier this year.

The Brunei-based outfit were drawn in the playoff stage alongside Ceres-Negros, Svay Rieng and Lao Toyota where they will try to secure a berth in the group stage.

The national leagues under the purview of the AFF member nations have already been suspended with the Singapore Premier League the latest to make the move in line with the updated guideline set by the country’s COVID-19 multi-ministry task force.

“With the ASEAN Club Championship been slotted into 10 match days over five months in the regional schedule, it’s now clear that with the prevailing conditions and the pending rescheduling of many AFF national leagues and AFC competitions, yet to be decided, that there will not be sufficient time to complete the inaugural championship this year. All members can now plan for the launch in 2021,” the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) said.

AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth said, “These are unprecedented times for the whole world, including our football family and communities, but we will get through it together. However, getting through this will require all of us to play our part.”

The president added with the high risk of transmission of the disease at mass gatherings, they have made the decision to delay and whenever necessary to cancel the competitions.

The AFF has also confirmed that tournaments sanctioned under them including the under-16 and under-19 championships both in Indonesia which Brunei are also expected to feature, will be postponed until later this year.

Meanwhile, the two competitions that have seen involvement by the Brunei national futsal team and a local futsal club in recent years – the AFF Futsal Championship and the AFF Futsal Club Championship – will go ahead as planned.