The enthralling build-up to Asia’s most prestigious football spectacle will reach new heights when the star-studded, action-packed AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Interactive Roadshow debuts on August 26 at Dubai Mall – the first of many activations across all four host cities: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah.
Adding to the excitement of the major sporting event to be held in the UAE, special guests will be on hand to meet and greet fans between from 18:00 and 18:30. In addition, the first 50 attendees at the Interactive Roadshow will receive complimentary match tickets for the highly-anticipated tournament.
The six-day event will take place in the Star Atrium in one of the world’s biggest shopping malls, Dubai Mall, which is big enough to fit 189 football pitches. While free to all during the August 26 debut and August 31 closing day, a nominal entry fee of Dh25 will be in place on subsequent days, which will include a match ticket to the 24-nation tournament in January.
The Interactive Roadshow presents passionate fans an opportunity to learn, play, show off their skills and engage with cutting-edge VR technology in three distinct zones of engagement: The Virtual Zone, The Skills Zone and The Victory Zone.
Throughout each of the Interactive Roadshow days, the Virtual Zone will educate fans about Asia’s finest stars and the proud history of the AFC Asian Cup, bringing visitors on a thrilling journey across the UAE host cities using cutting-edge VR headsets.
The Skills Zone will welcome fans of all abilities, enabling them to pit their skills in a series of accelerating challenges in a football simulator.
The Victory Zone features multiple interactive games that allow visitors to ignite their passion through augmented reality by running, cheering or acting as a spokesperson on behalf of their favorite team.
His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee, said: “Through the power of sport, we want to connect communities and these Interactive Roadshows are the perfect way to deliver the excitement and energy of the AFC Asian Cup to people across the UAE.
“There is something for everybody at the roadshow, from fans and active footballers to people curious about the history of the sport. I’m sure the roadshows will be extremely popular as they’re a great way for people to learn and play their part in bringing Asia together for the biggest sporting event ever hosted in the region.”
Supporters attending the Interactive Roadshow can bring their excitement for the tournament online by sharing their experiences through social media, using #AsianCup2019 to join in the conversation.
Tickets are available to purchase online via www.afcasiancup2019.com. Everyone taking part in the Interactive Roadshows can select tickets for any of the first-round group stage games, excluding the opening game between UAE and Bahrain.
What: AFC Asian Cup Interactive Roadshow
Where: Across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah
When: Debuts on August 26 at Dubai Mall
Contact: Visit www.afcasiancup2019.com to purchase tickets
The eyes of the cricketing world will be fixed on the UAE from 15 to 28 September as Dubai and Abu Dhabi prepare to host the 2018 Asia Cup.
Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is hosting the Asia Cup on behalf of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and Dubai International Stadium and Zayed Cricket Stadium will be staging the matches.
Tickets for the showpiece event, which are priced from Dh20 to Dh750, will be available via the online booking site Platinumlist and at retail outlets across the UAE from Monday 20 August. Cricket fans can also buy season tickets for both the venues at attractive prices.
In Group A, India, the defending champions, will face Pakistan with both teams also facing the winner of the qualifier which will be held in Malaysia at the end of the month. The UAE are one of six teams vying for the lone automatic spots.
In Group B Sri Lanka will play Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The games will be played over a 50 over format starting from 3.30pm onwards.
The teams will start arriving in the UAE from 10th September. The first game will see Bangladesh take on Sri Lanka in front of what is sure to be a full-house at Dubai International Stadium.
All of the teams taking partcan expect huge support from fans who have flown in especially for the tournament as well as residents who live in the UAE, with a party atmosphere guaranteed in the stands.
Khalid Al Zarooni, Vice Chairman, Emirates Cricket Board said, “We are proud to host the 2018 Asia Cup in the UAE, which promises to be a thrilling festival of cricket with some of the world’s best players battling it out on the field.
“The game of cricket is hugely popular here in the UAE, and we are sure there will be a fantastic atmosphere in the stands as well as great entertainment on the field throughout the tournament.”
Hospitality packages for VIP and corporate suites can be purchased directly from Dubai Sports City and Abu Dhabi Cricket. Those interested can email [email protected] or [email protected] to find out more about hospitality prices and packages.
What: Asia Cup tickets
Where: Dubai and Abu Dhabi
When: September 15 to 28
Contact: Tickets can be bought online at www.platinumlist.net
It’s Just Football (IJF) are launching their new goalkeeping academy next month where budding youngsters can train just like the professionals in Dubai.
Under the supervision of Ben Smith, a former goalkeeper for Newcastle United, Leeds and Middlesbrough, the UAE’s stars of tomorrow will be given an opportunity to learn the basics, fine-tune their techniques and improve their match performance.
Registration numbers has already been impressive but IJF are keen to attract more ahead of the new term. They are holding free try-out sessions during the week from September 9 at Dubai College and Nad Al Sheba and are inviting boys and girls between 6 and 16 years to attend.
“This is a brand new venture for us and it’s something that I am looking forward to,” said Smith, head of goalkeeping at IJF.
“During the term, children will learn the basics of goalkeeping, handling, footwork and shot stopping. What I have noticed here in the UAE is that the distribution isn’t really focused on.
“As a goalkeeper, you just have to be as good with your feet as well as the hands. I’ve noticed the goalkeepers out here need a lot of work on that and we will be focusing on that. There’s no point in keeping the ball out of the net but then give the ball away to the other. I’m looking to develop some goalkeepers and hopefully one or two can go abroad and play professional football.”
With Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi among the global icons of football today, Smith admits there is a challenge to change the mindset that goalkeepers can also be superstars. And it’s one that he is relishing in the UAE.
“I think if you look from the Champions League final where Loris Karius’ mistakes cost Liverpool against Real Madrid, it shows that people are talking about how important a goalkeeper is,” added Smith.
“That is now filtering through to grassroots level and is a crucial position if you want to win stuff. For example, France had a world-class goalkeeper when they won the World Cup. Maybe that wasn’t the case 10 years ago but now a lot of people are realising that goalkeepers are integral to winning matches and titles.
“This is something that we want to address at IJF because it’s becoming a key role for clubs across the world and we want to teach children that.”
While goalkeepers of other academies are eligible to join IJF, Smith plans to tap into his contacts book and send a group to the UK to develop their skills in the future.
“In April, we will be planning on taking some of the kids to the north-east of England and watch the Newcastle United goalkeepers train as part of their development,” added Smith. “We’ll do the same at Middlesbrough as it’s important for them to keep learning and see what is needed to succeed.”
What: IJF Goalkeeping Academy
Where: Dubai College and Nad Al Sheba
When: From September 9
Contact: Visit www.itsjustfootball.com