Published on Thursday, 20 June 2013 20:56
Kuala Lumpur: AFC Cup holders Kuwait SC team manager Waleed Al Mandeel believes Maldivian club New Radiant have made a feat within a feat advancing to the last eight this year after a five-year absence from the tournament.
Both clubs stormed into the quarterfinals of this year and an AFC Cup 2013 Knockout Stage Official Draw in the Malaysian capital on Thursday pitted both sides into their quarterfinal match-up in September.
While Kuwait are two-time champions, in 2009 and last year, the last time New Radiant were in AFC Cup action was in 2008 when they crashed out at the group stage and the Maldivians’ best performance was three years prior, when they reached the semi-finals in the 2005 edition and lost to eventual champions Al Faisaly of Jordan.
However the New Radiant team restarted their AFC Cup dreams after a long absence with a much better run this year having scored 20 times and conceded just four on their way to topping Group F before they defeated Selangor 2-0 after extra-time in the Round of 16.
“It is a good draw,” Al Mandeel (pictured) told The-AFC.com. “Some people say New Radiant of Maldives who have been long absent from the tournament are not so strong. But to me, all teams who advanced to the last eight are strong and particularly Radiant should be taken seriously.
“Also, they are making it in the competition for the first time in five years, so they must be very much in high spirit and what is more, they have reached the quarterfinals, a feat within a feat. So, they will want to finish strong also, so we must ready for New Radiant.
“What matters most now is that all of us eight teams are in the quarterfinals, so there must be something to everybody, so we will get ready for everyone.”
The first leg of the 2013 AFC Cup quarter-finals will be held on September 17 and the return fixtures will take place a week later.