AFC names Abahani for President's Cup
B. League champions Abahani's participation in the AFC Cup looked uncertain as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) yesterday confirmed that the Dhaka giants will play in the AFC President's Cup.
The AFC organises three continental club tournaments every year with the top nations representing the prestigious Champions League, the mid-level sides competing in the AFC Cup and the bottom-category countries getting the President's Cup.
The Bangladesh clubs earlier participated in the AFC Cup but last year, there had been no entry as the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) failed to organise any league in 2006.
As 2007 professional league winners, Abahani were supposed to win an AFC Cup berth but the sky-blues have been pitted against clubs from the least developed football nations.
The BFF yesterday confirmed that Abahani's entry has been accepted as B. League champions of 2006-2007 although the AFC had invited only the national league champions from 11 countries for 2008.
A BFF official confirmed yesterday that as there was no National League in Bangladesh in the 2006-07 season, the AFC decided to award Abahani a place in the competition, so far dominated by central Asian nations.
The qualification stage will be held from March 20 to April this year but it was not known whether matches would be played on home-away basis or at centralised venues.
The final stage -- two semifinals and final -- will be played from 19-21 September.
The other ten nations to represent the event are Bhutan, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.