Along with Dhaka Abahani Limited, only one other Bangladesh Premier League club among Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited and newcomer Saif Sporting Club will play in the AFC Cup as the official draw for the competition’s 2018 edition was held in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia on Wednesday.
The first club from Bangladesh after the end of the ongoing top-flight league confirmed a place in the four-team Group E along with New Radiant Sporting Club of Maldives, while the other spots are yet to be finalised.
The second club from Bangladesh will be competing in the preliminary and play-off stages, fixtures of which were also finalised during the draw. The Bangladesh club there will face the second club from Maldives in the south zone's preliminary play-off on January 30.
Five-time professional league winner Abahani have already booked one of Bangladesh's places for being the champion in the season's knock-out tournament, the Federation Cup. Apart from the Sky Blues, only Saif Sporting and Mohammedan managed to fulfill the criteria required for AFC Cup competitions.
The top finisher among these three clubs after the end of the premier league will play directly in the group stage while the other team will compete in the preliminary stage.
With seven-eight more rounds to be played in the league, Abahani are currently placed third with 33 points, followed by Saif Sporting at fourth with 27 points from 14 matches while Mohammedan are sixth with 17 points from 14 matches. If Mohammedan fail to finish in the top six, they will be ineligible to participate, despite meeting the other criterion.