Transport United FC will play the reigning champions of Sri Lanka’s Dialog champions league, Colombo FC, in the two-legged AFC Cup 2019 preliminary stages in February.
Transport United FC has begun to prepare for the pre qualifiers, calling in some players from local clubs. The club expects to go into full preparation next month when the players return with the club for training during vacation.
With Bhutan football federation planning to organise Gold Cup tournament in the country that will bring in some international clubs, the club expects a better preparation for pre qualifiers this time.
An official from Transport United said the club this year had better squad.
According to the draw held in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday the winning team will then face reigning Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC in another two-legged playoff to qualify for the group stage round.
The duo will be playing the AFC Cup pre-qualifying rounds for the two consecutive years. Transport United FC played ISL giants Bengaluru FC and Colombo FC played I-league champions Mohun Bagan in the two-legged pre-qualifiers last year.
Both Transport United FC and Colombo FC could not proceed to the next pre-qualifying round last year. The former recorded a draw at home while Colombo FC lost both matches.
Transport United FC confirmed the only spot awarded to the football clubs from Bhutan to play the pre qualifiers after winning the national league 2018 earlier this month. The league was most competed this year with the last fixtures deciding championship fate.
Club’s General Secretary, Yeshey Samdrup, said that the club expects to win the pre-qualifiers this time. “We are placed with the less stronger teams compared to last year. Although the Sri Lankan team comes from not much established league we heard that they have enhanced the squad including national players,” he said.
Colombo FC stand undefeated in the ongoing Dialog Champions league in Sri Lanka while it is off-season for the football clubs in the country after the end of both domestic leagues, Thimphu league and national league 2018.
Transport United records two wins and one loss in the last three games played in the national league 2018. Colombo FC won all three games played so far in the ongoing league in Sri Lanka.
Transport United’s striker Kencho Tobgay who finished as a top scorer in the recently concluded national league said that his team had a good chance to win against Colombo FC. “But we will have to work hard for the qualifiers,” he said.
Transport United will play Chennaiyin FC if it wins the first round of pre-qualifiers play-offs against Colombo FC.
The first leg play off will be played in Sri Lanka on February 20 and the second leg at Changlingmithang, Thimphu on February 27.