Qatar completes preparations for Asian Cup launch

The Asian Cup was displayed during a ceremony held in advance of this weekend's tournament. [Nasser El Ghanem/Al-Shorfa]

The Asian Cup was displayed during a ceremony held in advance of this weekend's tournament. [Nasser El Ghanem/Al-Shorfa]



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Football officials in Qatar are hoping this week's Asian Cup will furnish proof of the country's ability to host major sporting events.

The championship, scheduled to begin Friday (January 7th) at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, runs until January 29th. The Qatari capital completed its preparations ahead of the tournament, and football officials said it will be a rehearsal for hosting the World Cup in 2022.

"The State of Qatar has been ready to host the tournament for a long time, specifically since the drawing of lots last April," said Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, president of the Qatar Football Federation and chairman of the organising committee for the Asian Cup.

"All teams participating in the tournament have aspirations to win the title," he said during a reception at Doha Airport Monday. "The Qatar Football Federation prepared the team well to fight in this competition, in which the best teams in Asia take part."

Saud Mohannadi, executive chairman of the championship's organising committee said, "The public will be a key partner in the tournament's success."

He said hosting the Asia Cup will provide valuable experience for officials as they prepare for the World Cup.

The 16 teams are divided into four groups. The first group includes Qatar, Kuwait, China and Uzbekistan. The second group includes Saudi Arabia, Japan, Jordan and Syria. The third group is comprised of South Korea, India, Australia, and Bahrain. The fourth group includes defending champion Iraq, North Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

Qatar designated five venues for the tournament including Khalifa International Stadium, which has a capacity of 50,000, Gharafa Club Stadium (25,000), Jassim bin Mohamed Stadium (15,000), Qatar Club Stadium (19,000), and Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium (25,000).

Ibrahim Juma, supervisor of the media centre, said Qatar hopes to benefit from organising the tournament.

"Everything was prepared early," Juma told Al-Shorfa. "We have high organisational abilities and previous experience. We will use it to show the shining face of the Asian championship, which is considered the World Cup of Asia."

Juma said the media centre was opened 10 days before the tournament began."It is equipped with the latest equipment and allows journalists to interact quickly with their media outlets. Hundreds of journalists from Asia, Europe and Africa are here to cover this landmark event."

Essa Hitmi, director of Qatar's Cup and League channel, denied allegations that the channel paid a large fee to be the official broadcaster of the Asian Cup of Nations.

"The games will be carried by 25 cameras on the field and 50 additional cameras along with a team of close to 600 people with the help of some Europeans who worked in broadcasting the World Cup and European leagues such as the Spanish League," he said during a press conference Monday in Doha.

According to Hitmi, the channel will provide continuous live broadcasts during the Asian Cup for up to 18 hours almost every day. Broadcasts will start from 9 a.m. and last until 2 a.m. the following day.



    خليفة السعدي


    This championship will be one of the best and most successful championships in the history of the AFC Asian Cups, because they are held in one country, not more. It will be held in one place. It will also be successful because the host country of this championship, Qatar, is considered one of the most successful countries in hosting championships on its land. Another reason is that all the participating teams are strong, which will make the competition very heated, as most of the sixteen teams are strong and qualified for the championship after surviving difficult playoffs. In addition to that, the teams have been divided into groups, which has made all the groups appear strong.

  • حسام سالم


    The championship has been largely prepared for, announced and covered by the media, which met it with great applause. It will be successful by all measures, because Qatar owns all the sports installations, in addition to the hotels and training playgrounds. In addition to that, Qatar has changed the way of bringing the Asian Cup in, as it held an official reception with a great parade that held that cup and roamed the streets of Al-Doha with it, in addition to malls and big shops. Reception parties to cheer for the teams have been held for the audience to come to the playground to watch the matches and enjoy them. Also, Qatar has communities from different nationalities, which means that audiences would be there to support all the participating teams, and this will have a great role in making the championship successful and motivating the teams to give their best.

  • ياسين مشهداني


    Qatar, the small Arab country, is successful at being the first in the sports field in the Middle East. It is now hosting the AFC Asian Cup after it won the competition, and was successful with the organization of the World Cup of 2022. This championship will be very powerful, as promised by all the participating teams. It is not easy to nominate one team at the expense of the other team, because they have all prepared strongly. Everyone seeks the title and to win the cup of this tournament. All the teams are under immense pressure to take this title. I believe that many people, myself included, nominate the East Asian teams, which will have a word in this championship, especially given that the previous version of the tournament was Arab. That is why the East Asian teams might be coming to return the cup to their treasure chests.

  • سعد الشروقي


    The Asian Cup Football Championship is one of the most important Asian tournaments, and it is actually the first tournament of great importance for the inhabitants of this continent. This Asian tournament is organized every four years, and the participating teams compete, and one team wins the Asian Cup and becomes Asia’s soccer champion. The Asian Federation attaches great importance to the Asian tournament, because of its great importance to the continent as a whole. The tournament will be held in Qatar in 2011, and all the teams have come to participate and compete for the Asian Cup and the gold medals. The tournament is really distinct in terms of organization, as Qatar is distinguished by its capability to organize tournaments, because it has many modern, world-class stadiums. The participating teams are also powerful in competing to win the Asian title, because they are good teams with great experience and capabilities.