The AFC Cup 2023-24 groups have been finalised following the conclusion of the Official Draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday.
Joint-record three-time champions Kuwait SC led the cast of 36 teams who were divided into nine groups across the five AFC zones.
The West Zone teams will start their campaign in Groups A, B and C, with the three group winners and best runners-up advancing to the Zonal semi-finals.
Group A will see 2019 champions Al Ahed FC of Lebanon, Syria’s Al Futuwa, Jabal Al Mukaber Club of Palestine and Oman’s Al Nahda competing while Group B will be contested by Jordan’s Al Wehdat, Kuwait SC, Al Kahrbaa SC of Iraq and Syria’s Al Ittihad Al-Ahli of Aleppo. Al Zawraa of Iraq, Bahrain’s Al Riffa, Nejmeh SC of Lebanon and Kuwait’s Al Arabi were drawn in Group C.
The ASEAN Zone will also be contested across three groups – F, G and H – with the three group winners and best runners-up qualifying for the Zonal semi-final.
The race to advance from Group F will involve Dynamic Herb Cebu FC of the Philippines, Macarthur FC of Australia, Myanmar’s Shan United FC and Phnom Penh Crown FC of Cambodia while Group G has Malaysia’s Terengganu FC, Bali United of Indonesia, Philippines side Stallion Laguna FC and Central Coast Mariners of Australia. Vietnam’s Haiphong FC, Hougang United of Singapore, Malaysia’s Sabah FC and Indonesia’s PSM Makassar will be vying for the automatic ASEAN Zonal semi-final spot in Group H.
No draw was necessary for Groups D (South), E (Central) and I (East).
The Central Zone’s Group E will see FC Ravshan of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr FC, FC Abdysh-Ata of Kyrgyz Republic and second Turkmenistan side FC Merw vying for the sole spot available in the Inter-Zone semi-finals.
Group I – featuring clubs from the East Zone – will be a battle between Macau’s CPK, Tainan City FC of Chinese Taipei, Mongolia’s FC Ulaanbaatar and Taichung Futuro FC, also from Chinese Taipei.
The winners of the ASEAN Zone will move on to the Inter-zone Semi-finals, where they will be joined by the winners of Groups D, E and I; a Knockout Stage draw will be conducted to determine the two ties for this stage.
The two victors then play each other in the Inter-zone Final to earn the right to face the winners of the West Zonal Final in the AFC Cup 2023-24 Final on May 5, 2024.
AFC 2023-24 Groups
Group A: Al Ahed FC (LBN), Al Futuwa (SYR), Jabal Al Mukaber Club (PLE), Al Nahda (OMA)
Group B: Al Wehdat (JOR), Kuwait SC (KUW), Al Kahrbaa SC (IRQ), Al Ittihad Al-Ahli of Aleppo (SYR)
Group C: Al Zawraa (IRQ), Al Riffa (BHR), Nejmeh SC (LBN), Al Arabi (KUW)
Group D: Odisha FC (IND), Bashundhara Kings (BAN), Maziya Sports & Recreation Club (MDV), Mohun Bagan Super Giant (IND)
Group E: FC Ravshan (TJK), Altyn Asyr FC (TKM), FC Abdysh-Ata (KGZ), FC Merw (TKM)
Group F: Dynamic Herb Cebu FC (PHI), Macarthur FC (AUS), Shan United (MYA), Phnom Penh Crown FC (CAM)
Group G: Terengganu FC (MAS), Bali United (IDN), Stallion Laguna FC (PHI), Central Coast Mariners (AUS)
Group H: Haiphong FC (VIE), Hougang United (SGP), Sabah FC (MAS), PSM Makassar (IDN)
Group I: CPK (MAC), Tainan City FC (TPE), FC Ulaanbaatar (MNG), Taichung Futuro FC (TPE)