At the AFC Cup draw held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, the groupings were revealed with the Indian clubs being clubbed with the East Asian sides.
Former I-League champions Churchill Brothers SC, who made the cut into the competition after Dempo SC's withdrawal, will be grouped in Group E along with Hong Kong's Kitchee SC, Singapore Armed Forces and Semen Padang from Indonesia.
Second attempt for the Red Machine
This will be the Goan side's second AFC Cup campaign, and they will be hoping to get past the round of 16 after collecting seven points from the group stage of the 2010 AFC Cup.
Meanwhile, the 2012 Federation Cup winners East Bengal have been grouped alongside S-League champions Tampines Rovers, Malaysia's Selangor FC and Vietnam's Saigon Xuan Thanh.
Can the Red and Gold shine in Asia?
The Kolkatan outfit has participated in the last three editions of the AFC Cup and have languished at the bottom of the table in the group stages each time only managing a combined three points.
While Churchill Brothers and East Bengal are clubed among East Asian teams, it is interesting to recall that former Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa had stated last year that Indian clubs cannot compete West Asian teams.
The group stage is expected to kick off in early March next year.
|GROUP A: Safa, Kuwait SC, Riffa, PLAYOFF WINNER.|
|GROUP B: Arbil, Al-Ansar, Fanjam, Al-Muharraq.|
|GROUP C: Al-Faisaly, Duhok, Shabaab Ibb, Dhofar.|
|GROUP D: Qadsia, Al-Ramtha, FC Ravshan, Al-Shorta.|
|GROUP E: Kitchee, Singapore Armed Forces, Semen Padang, Churchill Brothers.|
|GROUP F: Yangon United, Sun Hei, New Radiant, Persibo Bojonegoro.|
|GROUP G: Kelantan, Ayeyawady United, SHB Da Nang, Maziah.|
|GROUP H: Tampines Rovers, Selangor, East Bengal, Saigon Xuan Thanh.|
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