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All set for club futsal first
Thursday, 26 January 2012 00:32
futsalwireKuala Lumpur: The build-up to the latest AFC Futsal Club Championship began in earnest on Thursday when the draw for the first-ever qualifying competition of the rapidly evolving tournament took place at AFC House.

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Kuala Lumpur: The build-up to the latest AFC Futsal Club Championship began in earnest on Thursday when the draw for the first-ever qualifying competition of the rapidly evolving tournament took place at AFC House.

With more and more teams eager to participate in the AFC Futsal Club Championship a qualifying campaign was needed for the third edition of the tournament, with five teams from the west of Asia and six teams from the east each chasing one of two tickets to July's finals in Kuwait.

The two qualifiers from the ASEAN/East Zone and the two from the West/South-Central Zone will join the league winners of the host nation as well as the national champions of Japan, Iran and Lebanon - whose club sides occupied the top three positions at the 2011 AFC Futsal Club Championship.

With the winners of the leagues in Thailand and China still to be determined, four of the six participants in the ASEAN/East Zone are newcomers to the AFC Futsal Club Championship.

Vietnamese champions Thai Son Nam host the ASEAN/East Zone qualifiers in Ho Chi Minh and have been pooled in Group A alongside the winners of the China's futsal league and Australia's Maccabi while Group B consists of the winner of the 16-team Thailand Futsal League, Pelindo from Indonesia and Myanmar's The top two teams from each group will meet in a crossover semi-final with the winners With only five teams in the West/South Central Zone there was no need for a draw, with the quintet battling it out in a round-robin league format competition for the two available tickets to Kuwait.

Tashkent giants Ardus, who have won five out of the last seven Uzbekistan Futsal League titles, will host the qualifying group that also features fellow 2011 AFC Futsal Club Championship participants Al Rayyan from Qatar and Iraq's Al Karkh and debutants Nalogovik, the champions of Kyrgyzstan, and Al Wasl of the UAE.

Matches in both qualifying zones will be played from March 19 to 24.

AFC Futsal Club Championship 2012 - qualifiers ASEAN/East Zone Group A: Thai Son Nam (VIE), China champions, Maccabi (AUS Group B: Thailand champions, Pelindo (INA), ACE (MYA) West/South-Central Zone Group A: Ardus (UZB), Rayyan (QAT), Al Karkh (IRQ), Nalogovik (KGY), Al Wasl (UAE)