The “100-Day Countdown” for the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 well and truly began today with events held across the region celebrating the increasing proximity of Asia’s premier football event.
The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) oldest, largest and most important football tournament starts on January 9 when hosts Australia play Kuwait in front of an expected capacity crowd at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
And after the thrill and excitement of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, all eyes are now on Australia and the 16th edition of the continental championship.
Today’s landmark date was hailed internationally at an AFC Asian Cup launch in Sydney, and during the Shanghai-leg of the event’s Trophy Tour of China.
China’s trailblazing footballer Fan Zhiyi, a tournament Ambassador, was one of the high profile guests in Shanghai.
In Kuala Lumpur, the home of the AFC, the Official Ball was handed over from Nike to the AFC, while Malaysia’s capital city also hosted the tournament’s Team Workshop.
“We can truly sense the enthusiasm among the fans, players and all those involved in the tournament. The official ball handover marks another step closer towards what is set to be one of our most intriguing competitions yet. The preparations are going well and I am confident that the standards of football that will be played will contribute to making it a grand spectacle,“ AFC General Secretary, Dato’ Alex Soosay said.
This marks the first time that Australia has hosted the tournament and they also welcomed the 100-day to go mark by hosting more than 300 business and community leaders at a gala lunch in Sydney.
The Local Organising Committee also took to some iconic Australian locations in each host city with giant inflatable footballs to promote the milestone.
Asia’s top 16 teams will compete Down Under with 32 matches played over 23 days in the five host cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.
The final will be played at Stadium Australia on January 31.
“Australia is ready to host Asia’s biggest and most prestigious football tournament and to welcome fans from across Asia to our shores for what will be a festival of football,” LOC CEO Michael Brown said.
“We are very excited that in less than 100 days Asia’s best footballers will be here and we will see world-class football in our five beautiful host cities.”
Also playing are defending champions Japan, who have triumphed a record four times, Korea Republic, DPR Korea, Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Palestine.
A key part of the build up to Australia is the event’s Trophy Tour which began on September 26 in Beijing.
Continental are proudly sponsoring the Trophy Tour of China, which takes place from September 25 to October 8 and will also travel to Guangzhou and Chengdu.
The Tour will also pass through Qatar (October 23 to 25), the UAE (October 30 to November 1), Korea (November 14 to 16), Japan (November 21 to 23) before a 10-day journey in Australia starting on December 2.
Having first been played in 1956, the AFC Asian Cup is the most coveted prize in continental football in Asia and its stature will scale even greater heights in Australia in 100 days time.
Tickets for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 are available through the official website at www.afcasiancup.com/tickets
CAPTION – AFC General Secretary Dato Alex Soosay and Chairman of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 Organising Committee Tengku Abdullah ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah with representatives of the teams due to appear at the AFC Asian Cup finals in Australia.