Dempo confident of their AFC encounter at home

March 9th, 2008 - 8:23 pm ICT by admin  

Panjim, March 9 (IANS) Despite injuries to several key players, Dempo Sports Club coach Mauricio Afonso is confident of his team’s chances in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup home match against Lebanese side Al Ansar Tuesday. Mahesh Gawli, Anthony Pereira, Valerian Rebello, Jerry Zirsanga, Satish Kumar, Peter Carvalho and Clifford Miranda are all unavailable for AFC Cup clash with Al Ansar, at Nehru Stadium (Goa), but the Dempo coach said it is not a worry for the team.

“My problem is Al Ansar. I know little about them, but judging from Lebanese club standards, we should be able to sail through at home,” Afonso told IANS Sunday.

He said Dempo won the inaugural I-League title, a little over a fortnight ago, and have now set their eyes on the second-tier Asian club competition.

Dempo are in Group A with Al Ansar of Lebanon, Muharraq (Bahrain) and Sur (Oman).

The winners of the six-group preliminaries will qualify for the quarter-finals and the remaining two berths will be filled by the best runners-up from Group A, B, C (West and Central Asia), and the best runners-up from Group D, E and F (East and South-East Asia).

Al Ansar, who were expected to arrive here later Sunday, have problems of their own with coach Jamal Taha resigning after his team was held to a 2-2 draw by La Sagesse in the Lebanese League.

Afonso, however, said his team cannot take their opponents lightly despite having the home advantage, and their rivals plagued by coaching worries.

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