Three former winners, Qadsia SC, Al Jaish and Al Ittihad will be leading a star-studded cast following the 2019 AFC Cup Group Stage official draw in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
Iraq’s Air Force Club, who created history by winning a third consecutive title in 2018, will not feature as they will be playing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.
Kuwait’s Qadsia SC, who won the title in 2014, will begin their continental campaign in West Asia’s Group C where they have Al Ahed from Lebanon, Bahrain’s Malkiya Club and Al Suwaiq of Oman for company.
Al Jaish of Syria, champions in 2004, will face Lebanon’s Al Nejmeh, Al Wehdat or Al Faisaly (Jordan) and the winners of Playoff West 3 (W3) – featuring clubs from Palestine and Oman – in Group A.
Syria’s Al Ittihad, who won the seventh edition of the AFC Cup in 2010, are in Group B alongside Bahrain’s Al Najma, Kuwait SC or Kazma SC (both Kuwait) and Al Jazeera of Jordan.
Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr, the 2018 runners-up, are in Group D alongside FC Istiklol / FC Pegar-Tadaz of Tajikistan, Krygyz Republic’s Dordoi FC and the Central Playoff winners.
DPR Korea’s 4.25 are in Group I and will be aiming higher after falling in the 2018 Inter-Zone final while Singapore’s Home United have Philippines’ Kaya FC, Lao Toyota of Laos and the second-placed team from the Indonesia league for company.