GLOBAL FC takes on Tampines Rovers on Tuesday night in the first round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
After participating in the second-tier AFC Cup in 2015, the Philippine representative has a chance to step into the top tier of club competition in Asia, but first has to get past the qualifying stage where the squad gained a spot after ruling the local United Football League (UFL) last season.
Global faces a familiar first road block in Singaporean club Tampines, which eliminated the Filipino club from the Singapore Cup last year after their two-legged quarterfinal matchup.
Now, the Dan Palami-owned PH club seeks to gain a measure of vengeance as it hosts its tormentors this time in the match that kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
The winner of the match will play two more knockout matches before advancing to the group stage of the Champions League where powerhouse clubs from Australia, Japan, and South Korea converge.
Global has bolstered its squad for its first major competition of the year, signing Brazilian defender Rafael Dumas on loan from Brazilian side Flamengo, and Shu Sasaki of Japan, while also getting back national team midfielder Paul Mulders from Ceres-La Salle.
Global has also tapped Japanese coach Toshiaki Imai, who owns a coaching license required to coach in the AFC Champions League, to steer a side still bannered by Azkals stars Misagh Bahadoran and Amani Aguinaldo, among others.
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That was the message sent by the Philippine men's national team to its Group F opponents after the draw was made for the Third Round of the Asian Cup Qualifiers held in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Drawn last in the draw, the Azkals, seeded third out of twenty-four sides in the third round of the qualifier will face Tajikistan, Yemen and Solidarity Cup holders Nepal in whom they faced before in the past five years, with a record of two wins and a solitary setback in their most recent matches.
Apart from the unveiling of the new tournament logo, Round 3 of the Qualifiers for the quadrennial tourney had six groups of four teams on a home-and-away format, with the winners and runners-up of each group will complete the cast for the extended Asian Cup.
However, 90th-ranked Kuwait (suspended for government interference) and 182nd-best Guam (withdrew) were forced to miss the Asian Cup, and as such, Nepal and Solidarity Cup finalist Macau booked their place.
Abu Dhabi: For 24 teams the road ahead to join Asia’s footballing elite will be decided at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers Final Round Draw in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital, on Monday.
In the draw, the 24 teams will be divided into six groups of four, with matches played both home and away during the official FIFA days from March 28, 2017 to March 27, 2018. The official logo of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 will also be launched during the ceremony which takes place at 16.00 (Gulf Standard Time GMT +4).
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa conveyed his best wishes to the participating teams as the continent prepares for another riveting competition in 2019 after the highly-successful AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.
“There is no doubt that Australia 2015 was an outstanding success and I am confident that the UAE will look to build on the excitement and expectation surrounding the AFC Asian Cup to deliver a breathtaking competition, which will further strengthen our aspirations under the banner of One Asia, One Goal.
“I wish all 24 teams the very best of luck in the draw and I have no doubt that the road to UAE will produce some memorable moments and captivating football which sets the benchmark for Confederation competitions.”
His Excellency Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi, Member of the AFC Executive Committee and Vice Chairman of the Higher Committee AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, said: “It is an honour for the UAE to host the second oldest football competition in the world.
"The expanded 24-team format only furthers the spirit of Asian unity and sportsmanship. The logo unveil tomorrow will capture the essence of our commitment to this esteemed tournament and to the Asian Football Confederation.”
Following the AFC’s decision to expand the competition from 16 to 24 teams, the winners and runners-up from each group - a total of 12 teams - will qualify to the final competition of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
They will be joined by the other 12 teams, which include defending champions Australia, China PR, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and hosts United Arab Emirates - who have already qualified to the final competition through the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2.
The 24 teams have been seeded below, based on the January 2017 FIFA ranking:
For the live streaming of today’s AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers Final Round Draw and Logo Launch, please click here, starting at 4pm Gulf Standard Time.
Amman: Twenty-one nations learned their opponents for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 qualifiers when the official draw was held in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Saturday.
The Teams Korea Republic, Thailand, Vietnam, Jordan, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Bahrain, Islamic Republic of Iran, India, Palestine, DPR Korea, Guam, Iraq, Singapore, Syria, Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates.
Draw Result Group A: A1 Jordan A2 PhilippinesA3 BahrainA4 Iraq A5 UAEA6 Tajikistan(hosts) Group B: B1 Korea Republic B2 UzbekistanB3 Hong Kong B4 India B5 DPRKorea (hosts) Group C: C1 ThailandC2 Chinese TaipeiC3 Lebanon C4 Palestine (hosts)C5 Guam Group D: D1 Vietnam (hosts) D2 MyanmarD3 IR Iran D4 Syria D5 Singapore
The three highest-ranked women’s national teams from the last AFC Women’s Asian Cup – Japan, Australia and China PR - received automatic qualification into the eight-team finals. The group winners of each of the four qualifying groups will qualify for the finals in Jordan.
Jordan as hosts also received automatic qualification, but they have expressed interest to participate in the qualifiers. Therefore, if case they finish top of their qualifying group, the runner-up team will also advance to the final competition. The qualifiers will kick off on April 3, 2017.
The finals, which will be held from April 7 to 22, 2018, which will also serve as the Asian qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
Match Schedule: Group A April 3: A3 v A1, A4 v A6, A2 v A5 April 5: A1 v A5, A2 v A4, A3 v A6 April 7: A5 v A3, A6 v A2, A1 v A4 April 10: A4 v A5, A6 v A1, A2 v A3 April 12: A5 v A6, A3 v A4, A1 v A2
Groups B through D April 3: BCD3 v BCD 2, BCD5 v BCD4 April 5: BCD4 v BCD1, BCD5 v BCD3 April 7: BCD1 v BCD5, BCD2 v BCD4 April 9: BCD2 v BCD5, BCD3 v BCD1 April 11: BCD4 v BCD3, BCD1 v BCD2