KAYA FC-Iloilo is to play its AFC Cup 2021 matches in Singapore, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Monday.

The AFC said the island city-state will host ASEAN Zone group stage play including those in Group I which has Kaya, along with Myanmar’s Shan United or Ayeyawady United (which will play in the preliminaries), Terengganu FC of Malaysia, and Geylang International FC of Singapore.  

Singapore will also host matches in Group H which has Kedah Darul Aman (Malaysia), Lion City Sailors (Singapore), Saigon (Vietnam) and the ASEAN Zone Play-off 2 winner.

Kaya finished runner-up in the pandemic-hit season of the Philippines Football League (PFL) last year.

AFC Cup preliminary play will take place next month with the group stage beginning in June.

Kaya is to first play Geylang on June 22.

The team, however, can be plucked from the competition if it manages to qualify for the AFC Champions League.

It will face Australia’s Brisbane Roar FC on April 7 in preliminary play.

If Kaya moves past the first test, it then meets China’s Beijing FC in the next stage of the playoff with the winner there, booking a spot in the AFC Champions League group play in Group F.

Reigning PFL champion United City Football Club has already qualified for the AFC Champions League, playing in Group I along with Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale, two-time champion Guangzhou FC of China and a still-to-be-determined team coming from a playoff between teams from Thailand and Korea. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo