KARACHI: Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) have been drawn in Group B with the defending champions Taiwan Power Company of Chinese Taipei and debutants Shabab Al Amma’ri Club of Palestine.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Tuesday the draws for the final round of the AFC President’s Cup which will be hosted by Tajikistan in Dushanbe from September 24 to 30.
KRL coach Tariq Lutfi has termed his team’s group a good one. “I think we are not in a tough group as we played a goalless draw against the defending champions Taiwan Power Company in Lahore in the qualifying round recently,” Tariq told ‘The News’ here on Tuesday.
“As both our rivals will be playing the first match we will get an opportunity to judge them and plan accordingly,” said Lutfi, also a former coach of Pakistan football team.
“Although in our first round match against Taiwan Power Company in Lahore we played with a packed defence, our overall approach was balanced and that was why we eventually held them,” he said.
“As there are no semifinals and one team from each group will qualify for the final so every match will be a do or die battle and there will be no chance of getting relaxed,” he said.
KRL are currently training in Rawalpindi under floodlights. They failed to reach the semifinals of the continental third-tier club competitions in Myanmar in 2010 in their first appearance, but are now a completely different side, capable of pulling off a surprise.
As many as 11 of KRL players have also been invited by the national team coach Zavisa Milosavljevic for the camp of the senior team for preparation of the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers.
Lutfi sees a good chance for his team on the vital tour. “We have a good side and we will go to Tajikistan with full preparation and I am confident that the team will play according to its potential,” said Lutfi.
Lutfi has also been appointed head coach of the women football team that will take part in the SAFF Women Championship starting in Colombo in the first week of September.
He will have to choose one from the two options and there is a strong indication that he will prefer KRL whom he joined last year after retiring from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
The Group B opener will be played between Taiwan Power Company and Al Amma’ri on September 24.
The last year’s runners-up Phnom Penh Crown of Cambodia have been placed in Group A with Tajikistan’s Istiklol and the six-time finalists Dordoi Dynamo of Kyrgyzstan.
Dordoi had been the winners in 2006 and 2007 and runners-up in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
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