AFC Cup 2022 groups set for kick off in Bahrain, India, Kuwait and Oman

May 17 – The AFC Cup begins its 2022 group stages tomorrow in centralised hubs in the South and West Zones.

The final group line-up will see 38 teams compete in 10 groups across the region. Central, East and ASEAN zones will begin action on June 24.

While the AFC is switching its Champions League to follow the European calendar – previously the AFC followed the calendar year – the 2022 AFC Cup will hold its final on October 22 this year.

Held for the first time in 2010 and created for clubs in the AFC’s developing nations, prize money for the AFC Cup has risen to $1.5million for the winners, while the runners-up will take home $750,000.

Kolkata, India, will host Group D contenders with local teams ATK Mohun Bagan FC and Gokulam Kerala FC opening at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium before Maziya Sports & Recreation of the Maldives take on Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings at the same venue four hours later.

West Zone teams have traditionally been the power houses of the AFC Cup, last year won by Bahrain’s Muharraq Club. They won’t be in action this year but their stadium will be with local team East Riffa taking on Nejmeh SC from Lebanon in the second game of Group C. Tishreen of Syria and Palestinian club Hilal Alquds will open the group.

The Muscat-based Group A will see Oman’s Al Seeb Club open their campaign against Jableh of Syria at the Al-Seeb Stadium at before Lebanon’s Al Ansar battle Kuwait SC

Meanwhile, Group B, being played in Kuwait City, will see hosts Arabi SC against Bahrain’s Al Riffa at the Kuwait Sports Club Stadium before Shabab Al Khalil of Palestine meet Dhofar Club of Oman at the same venue at 10pm.

Dushanbe and Bishkek will host Groups E and F respectively when the Central Zone kicks off on June 24, with the East Zone’s Group J to be held on neutral territory in Buriram, Thailand, after Chinese Taipei withdrew from hosting.

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