‘Sign-up, inspire your community and be part of the UAE’s most expansive and most exciting sporting event’.
That is the compelling call to action from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 at the launch of a new far-reaching tournament initiative, known as the ‘AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Playmakers’ programme.
Over the next few months the LOC is seeking to recruit 100 enthusiastic community ambassadors to deliver the message of the approaching tournament.
Known as ‘Playmakers’ after the important role of midfield players who act as the engines for their team, distributing and setting others up for success, the 100-strong group will share the tournament’s vision of ‘Bringing Asia Together’ and by doing so help to deliver the most accessible, connected and successful Asian Cup in history.
Open now to candidates by contacting [email protected], the initiative is seeking the most social, passionate and influential people residing in the UAE from each of the 24 competing nations to officially sign-up and play a pivotal role as honorary envoys.
Among the first Playmakers to be recruited are: Emirati ex-professional footballer Ahmed Al Balooshi, Jessica Cullen, a prodigious 15-year-old Australian footballer, and Japanese superfan Shinya Nakamura, demonstrating the variety of international fans and opportunities that exist for all members of society.
Speaking on the launch of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Playmakers programme, His Excellency Aref Hamed Al Awani, tournament director, said: “Football is the game of the people and the heart of our tournament flows through the communities.
“That is why we want to reach out to the people of the UAE and provide an opportunity for the most patriotic fans of each nation to get involved in this unique sporting occasion.
“We have the chance to do something special, but we need those special individuals who can inspire and help connect others. Just like the players on the pitch, only when we are all truly connected can we make the plays which make history.”
An expanded tournament format for the Asian Cup next year will see the best 24 national teams from Asia competing, making it the largest Asian Cup to ever be staged and the biggest sporting event hosted in the UAE.
A total of 51 matches will be played between January 5 and February 1, 2019, spread across eight stadiums located in four cities across three Emirates.
Al Awani continued: “AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect our nation through the beautiful game.
“The UAE is home to over six million people who are from the nations competing in the tournament. That’s who we want to reach through our Playmakers.
“By igniting the national pride that lives inside these fans every team can feel they’re playing at home. Every team can have a passionate 12th man.”
The positive response to the Playmakers concept has already been overwhelming. In all, 20 embassies and business councils representing their communities here in the UAE have confirmed their interest in participating and helping communicate tournament news, offers and developments.
Starting on Monday, fans who want to go beyond being spectators can register interest by contacting [email protected]. The programme welcomes all segments of society and invites five different categories to sign up, namely: country Playmakers as political representatives, corporate Playmakers such as CEO’s from the business world, highly visible community Playmakers, energetic schools Playmakers including faculty and students as well as a host of football legends.
For the latest AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 news and information go to www.the-afc.com.
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