Home Boost for Eagles AFC Cup Adventures

Geylang International will play its AFC Cup group stage matches on home soil, after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed Singapore as host for Groups H and I.

Announcing the winning bids, the AFC said the hosts for the AFC Cup group stage were selected after “an extensive bidding process”.

Aside from Singapore, the other group stage games will be held in Bahrain, Jordan, Maldives, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Hong Kong. The venue for Group G in the Asean Zone will be decided at a later date.

The Eagles are in Group I with Filipino side Kaya FC-Iloilo, Malaysia’s Terengganu and a Myanmar team (Shan United or Ayeyawady United), depending on the results of the AFC Champions League preliminary and play-off Stage matches.

AFC Cup Asean zone matches will be played from June 22-28 in a single-match, round-robin format.

Geylang coach Noor Ali welcomed the news as it gives his team some home-ground advantage as they will play their three games in familiar conditions without having to travel and face lengthy quarantines.

He said: “In this pandemic situation, we are glad that we are hosting and playing in Singapore because we don’t know the situation in other countries.

“Knowing we have a sound system of safe management measures in place sets our mind at ease and we can focus on our football.”

Eagles captain Yuki Ichikawa added: “We don’t know yet if fans will be allowed in yet, but we will definitely try to go as far as we can in this competition.”

Geylang qualified for this season’s AFC Cup after finishing as the third-best local club in the Singapore Premier League last season. Japanese side Albirex Niigata were champions, second-placed Tampines Rovers made it to the AFC Champions League as the top-ranked local team, while Lion City Sailors and Geylang progressed to the AFC Cup.

This will be the Eagles’ third AFC Cup appearance after making it to the 2004 semi-finals and 2010 group stage.