Hot on the heels of AGMK Club (Uzbekistan) winning the second-ever edition of the AHF Asian Women’s Club League at the Uzbekistan Sports Complex last month, the men’s teams from the continent prepare to do battle next month in Hyderabad, India in the 20th AHF Asian Men’s Club League Championship.
The preliminary round groups for the competition, which starts on Monday 20 November and finishes on Thursday 30 November, were drawn earlier this week and some mouth-watering ties are expected.
Title holders Al Noor from Saudi Arabia were drawn against Qatari side Al Duhail, Sharjah (UAE), Naft & Gaz Gachsaran (Oil & Gas) from Iran and Omani team Muscat in Group A.
Group B sees home team Club India (IND), Al Ahli from Qatar, Uzbek team Rkor, Al Najma from Bahrain and Iraqi team Al Shurta drawn against each other.
Iranian side Gachsaran recently debuted in the 2017IHF Super Globe after finishing fourth in the 2016 Asian Champions League, where they were defeated in the semi-final by the team that went on to win the title, Al Noor Club.
The Saudi side are also current title holders of the Asian Men’s Club Championship, having beaten Qatari team El Jaish SC in the final 25:23 last year in Amman, Jordan. Lekhwiya SC took third place after the Qatari side beat Naft & Gaz Gachsaran 31:21 in the third-place match.
The first edition of the tournament was held in Amman in 1998, won by Al Kazma from Kuwait and 2017 represents the 20th anniversary edition.
Teams play each other in the preliminary round before the competition turns into a knockout/placement format. The winners of the competition qualify through to the 2018 IHF Super Globe.