THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Bengaluru FC set for second stint in Asia

Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC have been grouped alongside Lao Toyota FC, Ayeyawady FC and one of Johor Darul Ta’zim or Pahang FC in Group H of the 2016 AFC Cup, at the draw conducted here at the Asian Football Confederations’ Club Workshop, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday. Having qualified as cup winners after securing the Federation Cup last season, Head Coach Ashley Westwood is confident of his side putting on a good show in Asia once again.

“I’m happy and excited that the draw has finally taken place as it’s been a long wait since we experienced the AFC Cup last season. We enjoyed our time in the competition last year and we gave a good account of ourselves. We’re looking to do the same again this season,” said Westwood.

With the Blues travelling to previously unchartered territory in Laos and Myanmar, Westwood is confident that the trips will help broaden his side’s experience on the Asian circuit.

“You can’t really say whether the draw has been favourable or not, because all the teams are in it by virtue of being champions or cup winners from their own countries. What stands out is two countries we’ve not played in before with Myanmar and Laos. It’s an opportunity for the side to broaden their experience and we’re looking to go out there and put on good performances,” he said.

While Lao Toyota and Ayeyawady FC’s positions in the group are certain, Johor Darul Ta’zim, who won the competition last season will play in the AFC Champions League playoff. Should Johor fail to qualify to the group stages of the Champions League, the Blues would meet familiar foes in this season’s AFC Cup.

“We played Johor last season and put on a really good performance against them, so if it is to be them, it would be nice to face a side that we’re familiar with. Pahang recently had a good cup run in Malaysia and they have a good blend of foreigners and Malaysians, as does Johor,” Westwood opined.

The Blues begin their AFC Cup campaign with an away fixture against Lao Toyota FC on February 24, 2016.