Kasuka faces FC Chantabouly test in AFC Cup

Fadhil Yunus

Kasuka FC will gain entry to Group ‘G’ of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2021 if they can navigate past Laotian side FC Chantabouly in the preliminary stage following the withdrawal of Hantharwady United FC.

The Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) has recently confirmed the withdrawal of the club together with Shan United FC from the AFC Champions League.

The Brunei-based side have been scheduled to play against Hanthawardy should they get through past FC Chantabouly, but will now have a shorter passage to the group stages after the AFC Competitions Committee cancelled the playoff stage match.

Instead, the winner between Kasuka and FC Chantabouly will be awarded entry to Group ‘G’ alongside Vietnam’s Hanoi FC, Indonesia’s Bali United and Cambodia’s Boeung Ket.

The other preliminary stage match in the Asean zone will see Cambodian outfit Visakha FC taking on Timor Leste’s Lalenok United with the winner advancing to Group H.

The group stages have been scheduled to be held from June 30 to July 6 after the qualifying matches which was tentatively set on June 20 subject to confirmation.

Kasuka, led by head coach Ali Mustafa, will be seeking to be the first club from the Sultanate to reach the group stages of the AFC Cup.

The Brunei representative earned a spot after meeting club licensing requirements last year having finished as runners-up in the 2019 season of the Brunei Super League.

They will be the second club from Brunei to feature in Asia’s second-tier competition following Indera SC’s participation last year when they competed in the playoff round against Myanmar’s Yangon United.

Kasuka have recently secured the services of four import players namely Liberian Leon Sullivan Taylor, Ghanaian defender Samuel Kojo Abbey, Japanese defender Shunya Ando and Japanese goalkeeper Shota Wada.

In addition, the club have also added promising local goalkeeper Ashraf Haledi, who previously laced for Wijaya FC.

Meanwhile, Kasuka joined the rest of the teams across the country in preparing for the upcoming Brunei Super League season, which is scheduled to kick off next month.

Recently, the club also held a player’s signing ceremony and the launch of their new home and away jerseys for the 2021- 2022 season.

The AFC Cup was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.