I-league champions Gokulam Kerala FC will play their Group D (South Zone) matches of the AFC Cup 2022 in Kolkata, West Bengal. (More Football News)
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Thursday confirmed the centralised venues for the group stage.
Besides Gokulam Kerala, the other teams in Group D are Bangladesh's Bashundhara Kings, Maziya Sports and Recreation of the Maldives along with the winners of a six-team South Asia Zone contest in the preliminary and play-off stages.
Gokulam Kerala are making their first appearance in the group stage of the AFC Cup. Group D matches will be played from May 18 and 24.
ATK Mohun Bagan, the Indian Super League 2020-21 regular-season runners-up, can join Gokulam Kerala in the group stage through the preliminary 2 and play-off stages.
In preliminary 2, ATKMB face the winners of preliminary Machhindra (Nepal) and Blue Star (Sri Lanka) on April 12. If ATKMB win the preliminary round, they face the winners of Abahani Limited Dhaka (Bangladesh) vs Valencia (Maldives)/Paro (Bhutan) in the play-off on April 19.
The AFC Cup, Asia's secondary club football tournament, is in its 19th edition. The winners of the 2022 edition will qualify for the 2023 AFC Champions League, entering the qualifying play-offs.
The AFC Cup 2022 Group A matches will be held in Muscat, Oman, where three-time winners Kuwait SC will battle Lebanon's Al Ansar as well as Al Seeb Club from Oman and Jableh of Syria.
Group B will take place in in Kuwait City, featuring Al Riffa from Bahrain, Palestine's Shabab Al Khalil, Dhofar Club of Oman and Kuwaiti side Arabi SC, while Manama, Bahrain, will host the matches in Group C, which consists of Syrian side Tishreen, Nejmeh from Lebanon, East Riffa of Bahrain and Palestine's Hilal Al Quds.
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, will host the Group E matches involving Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr, Kyrgyz Republic's PFC Neftchi as well as tournament debutants FC CSKA from Tajikistan and either FC Nasaf or PFC Sogdiana from Uzbekistan.
Group F, meanwhile, will be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, and will feature FC Khujand of Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic's FC Dordoi and Kopetdag from Turkmenistan.
Denpasar, Indonesia, will provide the backdrop for the matches in Group G which features the likes of Indonesia's Bali United, Kedah Darul Aman FC from Malaysia and Kaya FC-Iloilo from the Philippines, while Group H will be contested in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In the East Zone battles, Tainan, Chinese Taipei, will set the stage for the contenders in Group J, which include Hong Kong's Eastern Long Lions, MUST CPK of Macau, Chinese Taipei side Tainan City and either Hong Kong’s Lee Man or Athletic 220 from Mongolia.
But the host venue for the centralised matches in Group I is yet to finalised.