Bangladesh's Bashundhara Kings, in Group D of the AFC Cup will play their matches in Male, Maldives, a press release from AFC confirmed today.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) today confirmed the hosts for the AFC Cup 2021 Group Stage, following an extensive bidding process and after close consultation with its Participating Member Associations.
In the South Zone, Group D, comprising South Zone teams, has ATK Mohun Bagan of India, Bangladesh's Bashundhara Kings, Maziya S&RC of the Maldives and a play-off winner. The Group D fixtures will be played on May 14, 17 and 20.
Bangladesh champions Bashundhara Kings' journey in their debut AFC Cup campaign last year had ended after just a single match. Kings took pole position in Group E with a 5-1 thrashing of TC Sports of Maldives in their opening fixture on March 11, but the Bangladesh giants' campaign stalled when coronavirus spread throughout the continent, forcing the AFC to reschedule the remaining group matches at centralised venues before cancellation.
Six teams from South Asia zone will battle for the single play-off place in Group D.
ISL side Bengaluru FC will be facing the winner of the qualifying play-off preliminary round one clash between Nepal Army Club and Sri Lanka Police in the preliminary round two. In the other preliminary round two clash, Abahani will face the winner of Maldives' Club Eagles and Bhutan's Thimphu City. Both matches will be played on April 14.
The West Zone matches in Group A, featuring the likes of Al Hidd Club (BHR), Al Nasr (OMA), Al Wahda (SYR) and defending champions Al Ahed FC (LBN) will be hosted in Manama, Bahrain.
Meanwhile, Group B, comprising Al Ansar FC (LBN), Muharraq Club (BHR), Al Salt (JOR) and Balata Center (PLE) as well as Group C, which consists of Al Faisaly (JOR), Al Seeb Club (OMA), Tishreen (SYR) and the winner of the West Zone Play-off match will be staged in Amman, Jordan.
FC Dordoi (KGZ) will be the host club in Group E, which also features Ahal FC (TKM) and FC Ravshan (TJK) with Dushanbe, Tajikistan providing the backdrop for the matches in Group F, which include FC Alay (KGZ), Altyn Asyr FC (TKM), FC Khujand (TJK) and the representative of Uzbekistan, AGMK FC or FC Nasaf, which will be decided after the AFC Champions League 2021 Play-off match.
In the ASEAN Zone, Singapore has been confirmed as the host for Group H, which comprises Kedah Darul Aman (MAS), Lion City Sailors (SIN), Saigon (VIE) and the ASEAN Zone Play-off 2 winner as well as Group I which include Geylang International FC (SIN), Kaya FC-Iloilo (PHI), Terengganu FC (MAS) and the representative of Myanmar, Shan United FC or Ayeyawady United FC, depending on the results of the AFC Champions League 2021 Preliminary and Play-off Stage matches. The venue for Group G, also in the ASEAN Zone will be decided at a later date.
Group J, featuring East Zone clubs – Athletic 220 FC (MNG), Eastern Long Lions (HKG), Lee Man (HKG) and Tainan City FC (TPE) – will be staged in Hong Kong