Qatar begin its 100-day countdown for the start of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup

Qatar begin its 100-day countdown for the start of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup

QLNews
By QLNews

Qatar hosted the Middle East’s first-ever FIFA World Cup last year. Almost a year down the line, the country is gearing up for yet another major tournament — the AFC Asian Cup 2023 — which will kick off on January 12, 2024.

The country marked an important milestone for the tournament on Wednesday, celebrating the start of the competition’s 100-day countdown.

A special celebration — featuring top officials like AFC General Secretary Datuk Seri Windsor John, Local Organising Committee (LOC) Managing Director Mansoor Al Ansari, LOC CEO Jassim Al Jassim, LOC Board Member Hani Ballan and other senior officials — was held in Doha.

The ceremony also saw the tournament’s slogan — Hayya Asia — being unveiled. As a widely understood phrase that means ‘Let’s go Asia’ in Arabic, the slogan reflects the tournament’s vitality and unifying nature.

Nine stadiums are set to host 51 matches between January 12 and February 10, 2024. Qatar will be hosting the tournament for a record third time, having successfully held it in 1988 and 2011.

The 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup will see the host nation take part as defending champions.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairman of the Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Local Organizing Committee, said the tournament would allow fans to relive the excitement of the FIFA World Cup.

“We’re ready once again to host some of the world’s best players as the top 24 teams from Asia will make their way to Qatar to compete in the continent’s most prestigious football competition,” said Sheikh Hamad.

“Our world-class stadiums, incredible infrastructure and vibrant cultural experiences will deliver an experience that’ll last a lifetime. Qatari fans will be especially excited to support Al Anabi as they embark on a journey to defend their title in front of a home crowd. We expect thousands of fans from the region and beyond to pack the stands and support their team, setting the scene for a carnival-like atmosphere for everyone to enjoy,” he added.

Several fan activities are planned during the tournament. Qatar’s compact nature will mean fans and players alike will be able to stay in one place throughout the competition and easily make their way between tournament venues using a robust rail system and a modern road network. 

“We’ve always believed in the power of football to bring together people from all over the world, to bridge gaps and to promote cultural exchange. Hosting a tournament the size of the Asian Cup is about much more than football. It’s about inviting the world to learn more about each other, to promote unity and understanding, and that’s what we hope to achieve,” said Sheikh Hamad.

The tournament will see teams like Tajikistan make their first appearance at the Asian Cup, and others like Hong Kong China making a return after an absence of 68 years.

Continental giants like Australia, Japan and South Korea will look to build on their success from the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as all three sides made their way out of the group stage.

Regionally, former champions Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran will surely draw large crowds as they vie to lift the title once again.

“In the same way that the FIFA World Cup was a World Cup for the entire region, we see this Asian Cup as a tournament for fans from the entire continent to enjoy. We welcome fans from across Asia to come and enjoy world-class football and revel in our signature hospitality,” said Sheikh Hamad.

For more information about the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, visit their website and follow @Qatar2023 on X, Facebook and Instagram.

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