The Asian Football Confederation refused Abahani Limited’s request of deferring their AFC Cup preliminary round-two playoff tie, which is scheduled to be held at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on April 14.
Abahani sent a letter to AFC through Bangladesh Football Federation on April 3 where they requested to reschedule their match against Maldivian outfit Club Eagles, citing the COVID-19 and lockdown situation of the country till April 11.
But the AFC denied Abahani’s request and told them to either host the game by following the Bangladesh government’s health directives or to play it at a neutral venue, informed BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag.
‘We got the feedback from the AFC where they told us either host the match or play the match at a neutral venue,’ Shohag said on Thursday.
‘We have decided to host the game on the scheduled date after discussions with Abahani and other relevant government authorities,’ he added.
According to the AFC schedule, the winner of the April 14 match between Abahani and Eagles will play another play-off match on April 21 against the winner of the play-off match between India’s Bengaluru FC and Nepal’s Army Club, which will take place on April 14.
If Abahani can manage a win in the play-off match on April 21, they will advance to the group stage and join Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings, India’s ATK Mohun Bagan and Maldivian Maziya S&RC in the Group D.
Kings will start their group campaign on May 14, taking on hosts Maziya S&RC.
Abahani’s Portuguese coach Mario Lemos informed that his charges are ready to take on the Eagles as they have been preparing for the game for more than two weeks.
‘Players are in practice for the last 16 to 17 days. We are prepared to play the match on the date,’ said Lemos.
Abahani team manager Satyajit Das Rupu informed that as the AFC didn’t agreed to their proposal, the team is now preparing for the match at home.
‘We requested AFC to defer the match due to the countrywide lockdown for COVID-19 but they refused our request and said to host the match on date in a vacant gallery,’ said Rupu.
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