Hong Kong champions South China kick off the most ambitious campaign of their season when they take on hosts Neftchi of Uzbekistan in the AFC Cup quarter-finals today. Team convenor Steven Lo Kit-sing has made it clear the club's top priority this season is securing a place in the final of the regional tournament - a result which would promote South China to the AFC Champions League next season - the top tier of club competition in the region. With a maximum of only three expatriates allowed in the AFC Cup, South China strengthened their squad by bringing in two quality overseas players with each at an estimated annual salary of more than HK$1 million, as well as securing the services of four Hong Kong internationals in the summer. 'We want to become the first team from Hong Kong to reach the AFC Cup final so that we will be eligible for the Champions League next year,' Lo said. 'We need at least a draw in the away leg so that we can settle the matter when we host them at Hong Kong Stadium on November 30.' Lo admitted he knew little about the opponents, but judging from the fact the Hong Kong team were able to manage a 2-2 draw against Uzbekistan in an away match of the Asian Cup qualifiers in 2006, he was confident. 'The players showed some great performances at the recent East Asian Championships qualifying tournament and after going through a tough pre-season under, I have little doubt about their form,' he said. The Caroliners won both their first two league matches before leaving for Fergana, where Neftchi are based - a 4-0 win over Tai Chung in the league opener followed by a 1-0 victory over Citizen. Fullback Poon Yiu-cheuk remains the only fitness doubt after coming down with an apparent bout of flu in Fergana. Neftchi have won five league titles since 1992 and have appeared three times in the Asian Champions League main draw.