AFC Cup 2017 draw: Tampines Rovers, Johor Darul Ta'zim grouped in Asean zone

AFC Cup 2017 will have 36 teams and will be played under a new format.

AFC Cup 2016
Iraq's Air Force Club won the AFC Cup 2016 Reuters

The draw for the 2017 AFC Cup, which will be played according to a new format, was announced in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 13 December. The tournament will have nine groups in contrast to the eight in 2016 edition. The teams have also been grouped under five zones - West, Central, South, Asean and the East zone.

Johor Darul Ta'zim, the 2015 tournament winners, have been placed in Group F, the first group of the Asean Zone along with Myanmar's Magwe FC, Philippines' Global FC and qualification winner from either Laos or Cambodia. If Johor qualify for the group stages of AFC Champions League group stages, then Kedah DA will take their place.

Meanwhile, Singapore's Tampines Rovers have been drawn in Group G, the second group of the Asean zone along with Vietnam's Hanoi T&T, Malaysia's Felda United and Filipino club Ceres-Negros. Geylang International are the standby team for the Stags, if the latter qualifies for AFC Champions League group stages.

Here is all that you need to know about the new format

The 2016 edition, which saw Iraqi giants Al Quwa Al Jawiya beat India's Bengaluru FC in the final to win their maiden crown, had 32 teams split across East and West Zones, with four groups in each zone. The winners and runners-up of each group qualified for the final stages, starting from Round of 16.

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However, the 2017 format will feature 36 groups team across nine groups. The West and the Asean zone will have three groups each, and the remaining zones - South, East and Central, will have a group each.

There will be zonal semi-finals and zonal finals in the West and Asean zones. The winners of each group and the best second-placed team will play the semi-final, whose winners will play the zonal final. The winner of the zonal final of the West Zone will directly qualify for the final of the tournament.

On the other hand, the winner of the Asean zonal final will play in the inter-zonal semi-final with the winners of the South, East and Central Zone. The team, which wins the inter-zonal final will then meet the West zone's winner in the tournament final.

West Zone

Group A

1. Al Zawraa Club (Irq)

2. Al Ahli (Jor)

3. Al Jaish (Syr)

4. Play-off winner (Oma/Ple)

Group B

1. Al Hidd Club (Bhr)

2. Air Force Club (Irq)

3. Safa SC (Lib)

4. Al Wahda (Syr)

Group C

1. Al Wehdat or Al Jazeera (Jor)

2. Muharraq Club (Bhr)

3. Saham (Oma)

4. Nejmeh SC (Lib)

Central Zone

Group D

1. FC Istiklol (Tjk)

2. Altyn Asyr FC (Tkm)

3. FC Alay (Kgz)

4. Play-off winner (Tjk/Tkm/Kgz/Afg)

South Zone

Group E

1. JSW Bengaluru FC or Kingfisher East Bengal (Ind)

2. Maziya S&R (Mdv)

3. Abhani Limited Dhaka (Ban)

4. Play-off winner (Ind/Mdv/Bhu/Sri)


Group F

1. Johor Darul Ta'zim or Kedah DA FA (Mas)

2. Magwe FC (Mya)

3. Global FC or Loyola Meralco Sparks FC (Phl)

4. Play-off winner (Lao/Cam)

Group G

1. Hanoi T&T SHB Da Nang (Vie)

2. Felda United FC (Mas)

3. Tampines Rovers FC or Geylang International FC (Sin)

4. Ceres Negros FC (Phl)

Group H

1. Yadanarbon FC or Yangon United FC (Mya)

2. Than Quang Ninh (Vie)

3. Lanexang United FC (Lao)

4. Play-off winner (Sin/Cam)

East Zone

Group I

1. 4.25 SC (Prk)

2. Rovers FC (Gum)

3. Taipower Company (Tpe)

4. Play-off winner (Prk/Tpe/Mng)