Erbil FC seek to win the AFC Cup
Erbil in Group D for the 2014 AFC Cup
The draw for the Group Stage of the 2014 AFC Cup took place at AFC House on December 10. A total of just 12 teams will be confirmed after the playoffs for the 2014 AFC Champions League and two playoffs for the AFC Cup, with clubs from Kyrgyzstan and Palestine looking to take part in the AFC Cup for the first time.
The 32 teams have been divided into eight groups with four teams in each. Representing Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, Erbil FC was placed in group D, meaning Erbil will face either Shabab Al Ordon or Al Wehdat of Jordan, the Bahraini outfit Riffa, and the winner of February’s qualifying play-off be- tween Kyrgyzstan League champions Alay and Al Dharia of Palestine.
Having avoided their nemesis and defending champions, the Kuwait Sport Club, in the group stage following Tuesday’s draw, Erbil are confident of a return to form in the AFC Cup. Erbil have been eliminated from the tournament by three-time winners Kuwait SC on three separate occasions.
Fpr their part, having edged out domestic rivals Al Qadsia in the final earlier this year, Kuwait SC will take their place in February’s play-offs for the AFC Champions League with a place in the AFC Cup available should they fail to progress through the qualifying rounds.
“I’m happy there are no Kuwaiti teams in our group.” Erbil club representative Rebin Ramzi told the official AFC website.
Ramzi added “We lost three times to Kuwait Sport Club: in the final in 2012, the semi-finals in 2011, and the quarter-finals in 2009. If Kuwait SC get into the AFC Champions League, there’s a good chance Erbil will win the tournament.”
Following the appointment of Ayoub Odisho as Head Coach at Erbil, Erbil FC wants to get back on track and put in an improved showing in both the Iraqi domestic league and the AFC Cup. Odisho has already started knocking the team into shape, and hopes to win over the fans with a strong performance in the domestic league. Erbil began changing its line-up last week, when it signed two new players.
Last year, the Baghdad city giant, Al Shurta, became the Iraqi Elite league champions after beating Al Talaba 3-0 on the final day of the season and thereby maintaining their two-point lead over their closest challengers, the defending champions, Erbil. After the AFC gave a place to Iraq in the AFC Champions League, Al-Shurta was selected to represent Iraqi in the competition, while Erbil booked their place in this year’s AFC Cup.
This picture depicts Erbil Football Team.