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Kuala Lumpur: It’s that time again for our Asian Football Trivia to take centre stage so all you football lovers can brush up on your knowledge of the beautiful game.

We have another three Q&As for you to enjoy below and, after doing so, please don’t forget to send us your questions via the-AFC.com’s social media handles for next week’s edition.


 

It’s all about longevity in this one so it’s unsurprising to see teams that participated in the early years of the continental competitions come out on top.

In the AFC Champions League, two-time winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors first took part in the tournament in 2004, before they lifted the trophy for the first time two years later after defeating Syria’s Al Karamah in Homs. After last year’s final in Al Ain, the Korean outfit have now visited nine countries, but remain one behind compatriots Seongnam FC, who lead the way in the East.

 

Also on 10 are Bunyodkor – who have competed in both the East and West regions – although they are one adrift of fellow Uzbeks Pakhtakor, whose away days have included trips to Syria, Thailand and Turkmenistan. The Tashkent side are tied on 11 with Al Ain, with the Emiratis having played finals in Bangkok and Jeonju as well as group stage matches in Japan, China and Korea Republic.

But when it comes gruelling away trips, look no further than the AFC Cup, where three-time winners Kuwait SC and two-time champions Al Faisaly of Jordan have travelled to a whopping 15 nations – from the Maldives to Yemen – in their quest for continental glory.

Arbil win at Hong Kong’s Kitchee to advance to the 2014 AFC Cup final

Amazingly, one team go one better and currently sit on 16 countries visited. Iraq’s Arbil (pictured above) have travelled far and wide – to Lebanon, Kuwait, Oman, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong – yet runners-up spots in 2012 and 2014 is the best they’ve managed.


Here’s one to the get the debate flowing and diehard fans insisting that it is their club that has the most supporters. In truth, it’s almost impossible to find a definitive answer, although average attendance would be one way of gaining some kind of clarification.

To make things more interesting, though, we’ve decided to go by the highest number of followers a club has on its country’s most popular social media platform – by no means black and white but fun nevertheless. So, without further ado, here we go..

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Instagram is where most teams get their social media followers and it is Tehran giants Persepolis who lead the way with 898,000 supporters keeping an eye out for their club’s updates via that particular medium.

Facebook continues to rule the roost in many countries and, starting in the East, Johor Darul Ta’zim are out in front in Malaysia with 1.8 million followers. Unfortunately for the former AFC Cup winners, Muangthong United not only sit above them geographically but also in terms of followers, with the Thai side on 2.2 million.

Al Hilal pack their stadium for 2015 ACL semi-final against Al Ahli (UAE)

 

Over on Twitter, Al Ittihad actually beat both the ASEAN teams with 2.37 million followers, yet the Jeddah side are pipped to the post in their homeland as Al Hilal have a hugely impressive 6.9 million followers to, arguably we insist, make them the most loved club in Saudi Arabia.

But don’t get too confident yet all you Al Hilalis because back in the East we have Chinese powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande on eight million followers on Weibo – that’s more than the entire population of near neighbours Hong Kong.

We’re not done yet, though, as back on Facebook we have an outright winner. On a colossal 9.5 million Facebook followers, Indonesian giants Persib Bandung – home to former Chelsea and Real Madrid star Michael Essien – can (perhaps) claim to be the most popular club in Asia.


Another great question for which we went directly to our colleagues at the AFC competitions department to find out the answer.

The official qualification regulations for the tournament states that to meet the criteria, a club must have achieved one of the following:

• Winner of the national top division league; 

• Winner of the national knockout cup; 

• Runner-up of the national top division league; 

• Third place of the national top division league. 

If a country has more than one national knock-out competition, it must inform the AFC which one will be used for the purposes of the above.

With regards to Malaysia, as with all other nations, the FA Cup winners do gain qualification to the AFC Cup but, for reasons that we will explain, the previous two winners did not gain entry via the national knockout cup.

The 2016 Malaysia FA Cup winners were 2015 AFC Cup champions Johor Darul Ta’zim, who actually qualified for the tournament as league winners, meaning the second AFC Cup spot went instead to league runners-up Felda United.

A year earlier, Singapore-based Lions XII hoisted the FA Cup and, because they are managed by the Football Association of Singapore, were unable to represent Malaysia in AFC competitions. Thus, the country’s second spot again went to league runners-up Selangor FA.

After all the dust has settled on the 2017 AFC Cup, expect to see Kedah involved in next year’s edition after The Red Eagles won their fourth FA Cup with a 3-2 victory over Pahang in the final in May. 

Photos: Lagardère Sports

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