Kuala Lumpur: The journey to be crowned the next champions of the AFC President’s Cup began at AFC House on Friday with the draw for the 2014 tournament and with no previous champions and six debutants including the first participation from a North Korean club the tenth edition of the popular tournament promises to be one of the most exciting yet.
For only the second time in the history of the AFC President’s Cup a former champion is not taking part, with three-time participants and last year’s runners-up KRL (Khan Research Laboratories) going into May’s Group Stage as the most experienced side in the fray.
KRL, who lost 1-0 to Turkmenistan’s FK Balkan in the 2013 AFC President’s Cup final in Malacca last September, have been drawn in Group A in an intriguing all South Asian pool.
Joining the Pakistan powerhouse are group hosts Sri Lanka Air Force SC, Sheikh Russel Krira Chakara Limited from Bangladesh and Ugyen Academy, who edged undefeated Yeedzin by a single point to win the 2013 Bhutan National League ahead of the two-time AFC President’s Cup participants.
Sheikh Russel, Ugyen Academy and Group A hosts Sri Lanka Air Force SC are all making their competition debuts as are Rimyongsu, who are making tournament history by becoming the first club from DPR Korea to take part in the AFC President’s Cup.
The Sariwon-based outfit have been given a tough assignment in their mission to go a step further than compatriots April 25, reached the semi-finals of the 1990/91 Asian Club Championship in Bangladesh, and become the first North Korean side to claim continental club silverware.
Rimyongsu have been drawn in Group B with former AFC President’s Cup semi-finalists FC HTTU from Turkmenistan and Chinese Taipei’s Tatung, who reached the last four in 2010 and 2006 respectively, and hosts Ceres – La Salle, who will be hoping to make home advantage count in their debut campaign.
Another team looking for home field advantage to give them the edge is 2010 semi-finalists Erchim.
The eight-time Mongolian league champions will host three-team Group C that also features AFC President’s Cup newcomers Svayrieng, the Cambodian league champions who were previously known as Preah Khan Reach, and Nepal league winners Manang Marshyangdi, who are returning to the tournament for the second time after taking part in the 2006 edition of the tournament.
AFC President’s Cup 2014: Group Stage draw
Group A – to be played in Sri Lanka
A1. Sri Lanka Air Force SC (SRI)
A2. KRL (PAK)
A3. Sheikh Russel Krira Chakara Ltd. (BAN)
A4. Ugyen Academy (BHU)
Group B – to be played in the Philippines
B1. Ceres – La Salle (PHI)
B2. FC HTTU (TKM)
B3. Tatung (TPE)
B4. Rimyongsu (PRK)
Group C – to be played in Mongolia
C1. Erchim (MNG)
C2. Manang Marshyangdi (NPL)
C3. Svayrieng (CAM)
Coach: North Korea Sin Ui-Gun
# Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 GK Kim Myong-Sun 6 March 1997 (aged 17) North Korea Sobaeksu SC
2 MF Choe Un-Hwa 9 April 1997 (aged 16) North Korea Ponghwasan SC
3 DF Ri Hui-Jong 20 February 1998 (aged 16) North Korea Sobaeksu SC
4 FW Ha Kyong 21 May 1998 (aged 15) North Korea Wolmido SC
5 DF Ri Chun-Gum 18 February 1997 (aged 17) North Korea Mangyongbong SC
6 MF Ri Kum-Hyang 25 October 1997 (aged 16) North Korea Amrokgang SC
7 MF An Song-Ok 16 March 1998 (aged 15) North Korea April 25 SC
8 MF Ri Ji-Hyang 17 March 1998 (aged 15) North Korea Sobaeksu SC
9 MF Ju Hyo-Sim 21 June 1998 (aged 15) North Korea Chobyong FC
10 FW Ri Hae-Yon 10 January 1999 (aged 15) North Korea Chobyong FC
11 FW Sung Hyang-Sim 2 December 1999 (aged 14) North Korea Pyongyang City SC
12 DF Kim Jong-Sim 6 September 1997 (aged 16) North Korea Sobaeksu SC
13 FW O Kuk-Ryon 15 July 1997 (aged 16) North Korea Amrokgang SC
14 MF Yu Jin-A 2 March 1997 (aged 17) North Korea Myohyangsan
15 DF Pak Sin-Jong 27 July 1997 (aged 16) North Korea Amrokgang SC
16 FW Kim Un-Ha 8 August 1998 (aged 15) North Korea Myohyangsan
17 MF Ri Pom-Hyang 15 March 1998 (aged 16) North Korea Chobyong FC
18 GK Kim Yong-Sun 2 March 1998 (aged 16) North Korea April 25 SC
19 FW Wi Jong-Sim 13 October 1997 (aged 16) North Korea Kalmaegi SC
20 FW Kim Pom-Ui 2 February 1999 (aged 15) North Korea Sobaeksu SC
21 GK Ri Un-Jong 6 November 1999 (aged 14) North Korea Chobyong FC
Pyongyang, March 10 (KCNA) — The first round of the premier soccer league matches has begun Monday as part of the Mangyongdae Prize Sports Games.
15 men’s soccer teams and 14 women’s teams are competing in league matches, which will run from March 10 till late in April at Kim Il Sung Stadium, etc.
Men’s soccer matches between the Sports Team of the Ministry of Light Industry and Ryongaksan Team, between Rimyongsu Team and Pyongyang Team and between April 25 Team and Sobaeksu Team took place and women’s soccer matches between Chongchongang Team and Amnokgang Team and between Wolmido Team and Ponghwasan Team took place on Monday. -0-