On November 22nd the 2019 AFC Cup draw was held in Kuala Lumpur, but this year without any Macau representatives.
Benfica Macau failed to renew the AFC license due to problems in having all necessary facilities for home games. Since in Macau all sports facilities belong to the public, the only option for the clubs to comply with the AFC license requirements is to have strong support from the Macau Sports Institute and the Macau Football Association.
However, the Macau government has a philosophy that sports is for everyone, so there is little support for professional sports. The best example is that last season one of the Benfica Macau AFC Cup home games almost had to be relocated due to a school athletics tournament that was already scheduled for Macau Stadium. Coupled with this lack of support from authorities, Macau also has a lack of facilities. There are only two stadiums capable of hosting an AFC game which makes things even harder for local clubs.
The option to play AFC Cup home matches outside of Macau (e.g. Hong Kong or Mainland China) is rather unrealistic, as it would further diminish the already difficult task of signing good sponsorship deals.
The question now is to see how this will affect the future of Macau football. If teams like Benfica will stop their investment or if they will try again and gather as much support as they can to apply for the AFC license. There are some rumours that C.P.K. also want to meet the AFC Cup requirements and that could be a boost to put more pressure on the decision makers.
We will only see improvement when sports authorities in Macau change their mentality and recognise professional sport in the territory, while helping clubs like Benfica and C.P.K. to achieve bigger things.