Asian Football Confederation (AFC) new format for the AFC Cup is applied for next year’s AFC Cup and Maldives’ league champions and FA Cup champions (if qualified through preliminary and play-off) will be placed in the same group alongside teams from India and Bangladesh.
The new format does not provide country protection for regions with just one group and only the group winners will advance to the next stage of the competition.
The South Asia zone will be comprised of India’s Bengaluru FC, Maziya and Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka. Valencia will face Bhutan’s Thimphu City in a two legged Preliminary and the winner will advance to the play off and face either Mohan Bagan of India or Colombo FC of Sri Lanka.
Valencia’s first game will be away in Bhutan on 31st January 2017 and home leg will be played on 7th February. The play off will be played on 21st and 28th February.