AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Draw
The draw ceremony for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, the 18th edition slated to be played from Jan. 12 to Feb. 10, 2024, was held Thursday at the Katara Opera House.
The dazzling ceremony, in terms of simplicity and elegance, captivated all the attendees, most notably FIFA President Gianni Infantino, AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, HE President of Qatar Football Association Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Thani, AFC Executive Office members, representatives of the continental federations, managers and coaches of the 24 participating teams, and a host of international, continental and local media professionals.
The attendees were impressed by the Katara Opera House, which is of great value as a world-famous cultural center for artists and musicians in light of its sophisticated architecture that merges modern and traditional Islamic design. It is also home to the famous Qatar Orchestra, which promotes symphonic music in the Arab region, while serving as a platform for music from all over the world.
Addressing the ceremony, Al Khalifa highlighted Qatar's leading organization of major world sporting events that foretell an exceptional edition, expressing confidence that Doha will produce the best-ever AFC Asian Cup edition.
He also highly appreciated the State of Qatar's response to stage the event after China relinquished their rights to host it in June 2023. He also expressed his gratitude to the Qatar Football Association and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for hosting the continent's largest event on the World Cup legacy, given that six out of the eight World Cup stadiums will host the tournament matches.
The AFC President started the ceremony by presenting the tournament mascot to HE Qatar Football Association President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Thani, who, in turn, gave Sheikh Salman, the LOC logo.
Supervised by AFC General -Secretary Datuk Seri Windsor John, the draw saw the participation of seven Asian football legends representing Asia's five geographical regions.
Qatar's Hassan Al Haydos, who lifted Qatar's first-ever AFC Asian Cup trophy in 2019 in the UAE, was given the honor of drawing the ball that bore the name of Qatar. Drawn in Group A along with China, Tajikistan and Lebanon, Qatar will play the group opener against Lebanon on Jan. 12.
Al Haydos said that it is an honor for him to lead Qatar in the largest continental football championship, adding that the tournament kick-off at home and among loyal Qatari fans would be a special moment. He also voiced hopes they would defend the title that they secured in 2019.
Australian legendary footballer took part in the draw of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.
The player, who made most of his career successes in the English Premier League, said Qatar has organized the best edition of the World Cup last year and therefore will present an exceptional edition of the Asian Cup on the World Cup stadiums. Asian football has evolved with the development of local leagues, and this was demonstrated during the Qatar World Cup with the remarkable results achieved by the six teams, he added.
South Korean Legend Park Ji-sung expressed his great happiness for participating in the finals draw in Doha, pointing that his country's team are living a new phase with German coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
While Japanese referee Yoshimi Yamashita, the first woman to officiate a Men's World Cup match, said that Qatar will succeed in organizing the Asian Cup as it succeeded in the 2022 World Cup, expressing hope that the next edition of the tournament would be a highly competitive, which is a measure of the development of football in the continent.
Chinese former female player, winner of Golden Boot and Golden Ball in 1999, Sun Wen confirmed that the Chinese team has a legacy and long-standing traditions in the continental championship, and it will be able to display a good performance during the Asian Cup.
Maymol Rocky, Indian football manager and former footballer and currently the head coach of the India women's under-20 football team, said that the 2023 Asian Cup will be one of the best editions ever, adding that the Indian team is determined to making history in Qatar by passing the first round.
A total of 24 teams will be divided into six groups of four teams each across Groups A to F, with the top two and four best third-placed teams advancing into the final 16 of the competition, which is held according to the knockout system.
The draw placed Qatar in Group A along with China, Tajikistan and Lebanon. Group B comprises Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria, and India; Group C comprises Iran, UAE, Hong Kong, and Palestine, Group D comprises Japan, Indonesia, Iraq, and Vietnam, Group E comprises South Korea, Malaysia, Jordan and Bahrain and Group F comprises Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and Oman.
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