Although the World Cup is in the rear-view mirror, it’s still an exciting time for sports in Qatar.
The 2023 AFC Asian Cup is slated to commence in Doha from January 12 to February 10, Qatar Football Association (QFA) announced in a statement on Tuesday.
QFA also a confirmed the formation of a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) to arrange the logistics of the tournament, which was initially set to take place in China.
QFA appointed Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani as Chairman of the LOC, a statement shared on social media said.
The Gulf state beat South Korea and Indonesia’s football federations to secure the 2023 Asian tournament in October last year.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa congratulated Qatar’s Football Association (QFA) on the victorious bid.
“On behalf of the AFC and the Asian football family, I want to congratulate the Qatar Football Association on being awarded the hosting rights of the upcoming edition of the AFC Asian Cup,” said Al Khalifa.
This will be the third time the country has hosted the event since the 1988 and 2011 editions.
The announcement came just days after Qatar hosted the AFC Champions League 2022’s round of 16, quarter-finals, and semi-finals, in which local Qatari club Al Duhail made history by reaching the West Region semi-finals.
Despite the jubilant campaign from the country’s football heavyweights, the squad was no match for Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal which went on to demolish Al Duhail 7-0.
An embarrassing end to the top team in the country, coach Hernan Crespo called it a lesson to be learned for his side.
“Really, in football we don’t have mysteries. When you face a great team like Al Hilal and when you lose some players, the difference is too big,” Crespo told the AFC outlet after the loss.
“I am very, very proud of my players, we created history. But there are no mysteries in football, what happened today was real. There is nothing to explain, everything was very clear,” added the Argentine.
“I think if we want to build something for this club, we must learn from this defeat and understand how hard it was for us to reach the semi-finals.”
Al Hilal will host Urawa in the first leg on April 29, with a return fixture scheduled on May 6.