Originally published by Manila Bulletin Online
Two Filipino clubs will get to know their groupings Monday, Jan. 17 when the AFC holds a draw ceremony for its two continental club competitions.
United City is among the 33 Asian clubs assured of slots in the AFC Champions League while Kaya-Iloilo is assured of a berth in the AFC Cup in the event it fails to reach the top-tier tournament through the preliminary and playoff rounds.
Placed in Pot 3 of the East Zone of the Champions League is United City, which secured a direct berth for winning the Philippines Football League crown in 2020.
Kaya ruled the Copa Paulino Alcantara last November to gain a spot in the preliminary phase of the Champions League.
For Kaya to join UCFC in the group stage, it will need to beat a team from Australia’s A-League which is still being determined on March 8 and Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai on March 15.
An AFC Cup berth awaits Kaya in the event of failing to reach the ACL group stage. Kaya will be drawn from Pot 1 of the ASEAN zone.
Both clubs competed in last year’s ACL, with United City becoming the first Filipino side to secure a spot.
Kaya had to get past Shanghai Port in a playoff to also advance in the Champions League group stage.
United City registered one win, one draw and four defeats for four points to place third in Group I held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan while Kaya lost all six games for a cellar-dwelling finish in Group F in Pathum Thani, Thailand.
The AFC plans to start the ACL group stage under a centralized venue in mid-April for the East zone.
An April start is also being eyed for the ASEAN zone of the AFC Cup.