Doha, 28 November 2023 - Fan leaders from across Asia have expressed their excitement as the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ draws closer. The tournament, set to take place between 10 January – 12 February 2024, will bring together 24 of the continent’s biggest teams to compete for Asia’s most prestigious football tournament.
Qatar will be hosting the AFC Asian Cup™ for a record third time, having previously hosted the tournament in 1988 and 2011. This will be the first time that the continental competition will be played on FIFA World Cup™ stadiums. Seven of the nine stadiums selected for the tournament previously hosted matches during Qatar 2022. This includes the iconic Lusail Stadium, which will host both the opening and final matches.
With titans from across the continent competing for glory, fans will be treated to an electrifying display of football throughout the month-long tournament. Beyond the pitch, fans will experience a festive-like atmosphere as they explore the various cultural attractions that can be easily accessed through a robust rail and road infrastructure.
“Fans from across the continent are really looking forward to supporting their national teams here in Qatar during the Asian Cup. Having seen the success of the FIFA World Cup, and knowing what Qatar has to offer visitors from around the world, there is tremendous interest in attending the tournament from all parts of Asia,” said Jassim Al Jassim, CEO of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ Local Organizing Committee.
“The importance of hosting football tournaments of this size goes far beyond football. The Asian Cup will offer fans a wonderful opportunity to experience Qatari culture and build meaningful connections with other supporters from the continent,” added Al Jassim.
Qatar, who are the current Asian champions, have been drawn into Group A, alongside China, Tajikistan and Lebanon. Their first match will be against Lebanon in the tournament opener at the iconic Lusail Stadium on 12 January, 7pm kick off.
Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea Republic, Iran, Iraq and Australia have all claimed the Asian Cup title and will look for glory in Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.
“Saudi fans showed the world what we were capable of during the World Cup and we look forward to supporting our team in the stands once again when the Green Falcons play in the Asian Cup in Qatar next year,” said Fahad Al Mutairi, leader of the Saudi Arabian Football Supporters Union.
For the Australians, who were crowned Asian champions in 2015, the tournament in Qatar presents a unique opportunity to build lifelong bonds with other supporters.
“It’s an amazing experience that allows you to meet other Australians from all over the world. Qatar’s compact nature means that visiting fans can stay in one place of accommodation throughout the tournament, and getting around is really easy as well,” said Tarni Tsimeris, a lifelong supporter of the Green and Gold Army.
Iraqi fan leader Mahdi Al Kaabi will look for Iraq to repeat the magical run of 2007, when the Lions of Mesopotamia lifted the trophy in Kuala Lumpur, uniting millions of people and sending Iraqi fans around the world into rapture.
“In Iraq, football is much more than a sport. It’s a platform for Iraqis to shine and celebrate all that is wonderful in our communities, and the Asian Cup gives us an opportunity to share this magic with the rest of the world. I am certain that Iraqi fans will come out in droves to support their national team in Qatar,” he said.
For Japanese fans, Qatar holds a special place in their hearts, seeing that the last time the Samurai Blue lifted the trophy was at Khalifa International Stadium in 2011. Bolstered by their outstanding performances at Qatar 2022, which included two sensational wins against Germany and Spain, Japanese supporters are relishing the chance to return to Qatari stadiums.
“I have attended several Asian Cup tournaments before, as well as many World Cups, and it has always been our desire to see Asian football celebrated alongside the world’s best tournaments. And based on what we saw in Qatar 2022, and what we know is being planned for the next Asian Cup, I am certain that this will be the best Asian Cup yet,” said Hirokazu Tsunoda, one of Japan’s most recognisable supporters.