It could be another case of club versus country all over again as the first two rounds of the AFC Cup are likely to clash with the Challenge Cup qualifiers in March 2013.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) having realised the same have written to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to look into the matter so as to avoid a controversy on the domestic front.
From India, the defending I-League and Federation Cup winners, namely Dempo SC and East Bengal respectively, shall participate in the continent’s second tier club competition.
With India losing out on the chance to host the Challenge Cup in 2014, they will have to undergo the gruelling process of playing the qualifiers next year and thereafter participate in the main tournament. The importance of winning the Challenge Cup comes with the perk of automatically booking a berth in the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.
The Blue Tigers, under Bob Houghton, did qualify for the Challenge Cup in 2011 however a poor showing in Nepal earlier this year where they lost all their three group games and failed to score a single goal asked a few questions on the team’s cohesive ability.
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