Four champion clubs from some of Asia’s most successful women’s football nations are one day away from making history as participants in the inaugural AFC Women’s Club Championship in Korea Republic.
Korean champions Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels will be joined by top-flight league-winners from Australia, China PR and Japan in the ground-breaking FIFA/AFC Pilot Tournament.
The 2019 AFC Women’s Club Championship makes Asia the third Confederation to initiate a continental championship for women’s clubs, following in the footsteps of UEFA’s Women’s Champions League and CONMEBOL’s Copa Libertadores Femenina.
Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels have won the last seven titles in Korea Republic’s WK League and have served as a long-time nursery of national team stars – having produced 10 of the nation’s 23-strong squad at this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Their first mission comes in the shape of Australian W-League Premiers Melbourne Victory, whose balanced squad is complemented by the likes of emerging Matildas defender Jenna McCormick and England international Natasha Dowie.
Japanese powerhouse Nippon TV Beleza hope to be among the title contenders, having won 17 league titles in the past 30 years, and boasting a number of Asia’s brightest emerging stars, including FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup winners Jun Endo and Riko Ueki, as well as Oto Kanno, who was voted Most Valuable Player at the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship earlier this month.
Beleza’s campaign begins against a Jiangsu Suning outfit which has already claimed four trophies this season under French boss Jocelyn Precheur, who can call upon several Chinese internationals in his star-studded side.
Where and when?
All six matches will be staged at the impressive Yongin Citizens Sports Park, which will host two matches per day on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The tournament will be staged on a round-robin basis, with the team on top of the table at the conclusion of Saturday’s matches to be crowned champions.