Kasuka scheduled to play Lao Toyota FC in AFC Cup debut

Fadhil Yunus

Kasuka FC have to negotiate past Lao Toyota FC in the preliminary stage and then Hantharwardy United in the subsequent play-off stage to reach the group stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2021.

The local club, who is set to make their debut in the AFC Cup, will be the second team after Indera SC to represent Brunei Darussalam in the second tier continental cup competition.

The qualifying phase of the competition will see six regional clubs battling it out for two berths in the main draw of the ASEAN Zone in Group G and H.

The preliminary stage in the ASEAN Zone is slated to be held on April 28 while the playoff stage will be held on May 19.

The Brunei-based club will be drawn in Group G alongside Vietnam’s Hanoi FC, Indonesia’s Bali United and Cambodia’s Boeung Ket if they prevail as one of the two play-off winners.

Meanwhile, Group H consists of Kedah Darul Aman, Lion City Sailors, Saigon and the second play-off winner while Kaya FC- Iloilo, Terengganu, Geylang International and Shah United or Ayewandy United complete Group I.

While qualification could not be determined following the cancellation of the Brunei Super League last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kasuka were the best-placed team among the three other local clubs – which met the AFC Club Licensing status – in the 2018/ 2019 season.

Kasuka FC emerged as runners-up that season but a place in AFC Cup qualifying was eventually awarded to Indera SC as they were the only club eligible for participation in AFC-sanctioned tournaments having met club licensing requirements.

The other three local clubs that have successfully met the AFC Club Licensing status were Indera SC, Kota Ranger FC and DPMM FC.

The other preliminary round tie will pit Cambodia’s Visakha FC against Timor Leste’s Lalenok United FC with the winner taking on Indonesia’s Persipura Jayapura for a place in Group H.

According to the official draw of the AFC Cup group stage yesterday, matches in the ASEAN Zone are scheduled to kick off on June 22.

The centralised matches will kick off in the South, Central and East Zone on May 14 before the West Zone commences on May 23.

Kasuka’s opponent Lao Toyota earned a berth in this year’s AFC Cup after being crowned Lao Premier League champions last season.