DUSHANBE, September 24, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- Tajik capital is hosting the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup.  This is the second time in four years that Tajikistan is organizing the AFC President’s Cup finals.  It was last held in Tursunzoda in 2009.

Three member federations, Cambodia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in coordination with their affiliated clubs in the finals had staked claim to stage the event and the Asian Football Confederation Executive Committee awarded the rights to Tajikistan.

The draw to determine the two groups for the finals was held on July 31. The six teams were split into two groups of three each with the pool winners fighting for the coveted Cup, which was first instituted in 2005.

Dushanbe’s Istiqlol has been draw in Group “A” with Dordoi from Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and Phnom Penh Grown (Cambodia), and KRL (Pakistan), Taiwan Power Company (Chinese Taipei), and Markaz Shabab Al-Am''ari (Palestine) are playing in Group “B.”

AFC’s official website quoted Istiqlol’s Serb coach Nikola Kavazovic as saying, “There is no pressure on my players.”  “I know there are a lot of expectations from Istiqlol but I am responsible and I will take all the pressure,” said Kavazovic, who moved to Istiqlol in April.  
Kavazovic was happy to tag Dordoi as the favorites to win the title.  “For me they are the favorites in this competition,” said Kavazovic. “We will be lucky if we beat Dordoi in the first match.”

The AFC President''s Cup is an annual international association football competition between domestic clubs sides run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).  Qualification to the competition is to clubs from AFC-affiliated countries which fall into the AFC''s ‘emerging nations’ category as laid out in their ‘Vision Asia’ document.  Countries which are ‘mature’ and ‘developing’ nations are entered into the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup, respectively.  For an ‘emerging nation’ to have a team representing it in the competition, however, the country must have an acceptable football league.  The team that represents a country in one season of the competition is the defending champion of the top-level leagues of participating countries.

The 2012 AFC President''s Cup is the eighth edition of the AFC President''s Cup.