The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed Maldives as the venue for the AFC Cup 2021 Playoff and Group Stage (South Zone) matches on Monday.

The 2016 AFC Cup runners-up India’s Bengaluru FC will face Maldives’ Club Eagles in the playoff match on August 15. The winners of the clash involving the Blues will join India’s ATK Mohun Bagan FC, Maziya Sports & Recreation of Maldives and Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings in Group D.

The group stage matches will take place across three match days on August 18, 21 and 24, with the group leaders progressing to the single-leg Inter Zone Semi-final.

The Blues defeated Nepal Army Club 5-0 in April in the only game they played in the AFC Cup South Zone preliminary round.

These AFC Cup matches were initially slated to take place in May. However, rising COVID-19 cases in Maldives at the time meant that the matches had to be postponed to a later date. 

Both ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC have been busy in the transfer market having made plenty of additions to their respective squads, making it intriguing to see how their new acquisitions gel once the AFC Cup matches get underway.

Featured photo : Manjunath Kiran / AFP