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2012 AFC Cup: Salgaocar SC, East Bengal start their campaign

The 2012 edition of the AFC Cup is set to kick-off tomorrow with 32 clubs in eight groups from across Asia taking part in the second tier of continental club competition. India will be represented by Salgaocar SC (I-League champions/Federation Cup winn...

The 2012 edition of the AFC Cup is set to kick-off tomorrow with 32 clubs in eight groups from across Asia taking part in the second tier of continental club competition. India will be represented by Salgaocar SC (I-League champions/Federation Cup winners) and East Bengal Club (I-League & Federations Cup runners-up).

Both Indian sides have been placed in tough groups. While East Bengal Club are in Group B along with Al-Orouba (Yemen), Arbil (Iraq) and Kazma (Kuwait); Salgaocar SC on their AFC Cup debut will face Al-Arouba (Oman), Al Wehdat (Jordan) and FC Neftchi (Uzbekistan).

Kolkata giants East Bengal start their campaign tomorrow at home at the Saltlake Stadium against Yemeni side Al-Orouba. Kick-off is 15.00 IST. Last season East Bengal had drawn all their three home games but lost all their away ties and this season coach Trevor Morgan would like to start-off with a win.

East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan said, “Last year we didn’t lose any of our home games and this year we have to try and look to improve on that.”

Salgaocar meanwhile have left for Oman to face Al-Arouba on Wednesday and the Goans will want to do better then Team India, who recently were beaten 5-1 by the Oman national team.

Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa said, “AFC Cup is a tough competition and all the clubs drawn with is quality starting with Al Orouba which is considered the best team in Oman having in their rank quality foreigners and seven national team players. But we have our strengths and a great bench of players. The way the preparation was gone gave me confidence and I trust that the team will do well.”

Published with permission from Arunava Chaudhuri.

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