Follow 2016 Major Asian Football Tournaments
AFC Cup An annual Asia-wide club tournament second to the Asian Champions League, the AFC Cup kicks off in early February where a play-off round containing eight teams decides the final four group spots. Preceding the
An annual Asia-wide club tournament second to the Asian Champions League, the AFC Cup kicks off in early February where a play-off round containing eight teams decides the final four group spots. Preceding the draw held in Kuala Lumpur teams were allocated a position in their respective groups for the tournament with either a first, second or sometimes third place finish in their national league. Malaysia side Johor Darul Takzim surprised in taking last year’s Champion position after defeating Tajikistani Champion Istiklol in the final. This year’s final is scheduled to take place on November 5th. From Southeast Asia, Selangor and Johor Darul Takzim from Malaysia are teams to watch who are looking good leading up to the tournament.
AFF Championship (Suzuki Cup)
Joint-hosted between Myanmar and the Philippines, Southeast Asia’s biggest football tournament returns this year where eight of the biggest footballing nations form the region battle it out for the title. This year, current champion Thailand will be eager to get the AFF record of most Championship titles with five, beating Singapore’s four titles. Last tournament, in a disappointing performance on home soil, the island nation crashed out in the group stages with a loss to rival Malaysia. This year, Singapore will need to dramatically improve from recent results if they are to defend their tournament record. As of now, Indonesia is not scheduled to compete in the tournament due to the Indonesia FA’s suspension from FIFA.
Asian Champions League
Last year’s edition of Asia’s biggest club tournament finished with Chinese Champion Guangzhou Evergrande named the victors. The recent Japanese Emperor’s Cup final, where Gamba Osaka defeated Urawa Reds, has put Japanese giants in a group with Guangzhou. This came within a month after most teams competiting in the tourament were allocated their spots in a groups through a draw held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The remaining vacant group spots will be filled following the qualifying round in February. From Southeast Asia, Buriram United from Thailand and Becamex Binh Duong are teams to watch who are looking good leading up to the tournament.
AFC U-23 Championship
Taking place in Qatar currently, with the final in Doha, Asia’s biggest youth football competition is currently in full swing with Quarter-final matches just completed. The home nation is off to a flying start as they have already booked a spot in the semi-final against South Korea. In another semi-final clash, Japan will play Iraq.
FIFA Club World Cup
Once again held in Japan, in December the leading clubs form each confederation and one from the hosting nation will compete for the Club World Championship. The most recent installment took place last month, where Asian Club Champions Guangzhou Evergrande was held scoreless in their semi-final loss. And Japanese side Sanfreece Hiroshima lost their Semi-final clash to Argentinian giants River Plate. This year, the J-League and Asian Champion for 2016 will compete – James Gow