AFC President congratulates Uzbekistan for capturing title in historic AFC U23 Championship
Kuala Lumpur: AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated Uzbekistan for creating history as the first–ever Central Asian nation to clinch the AFC U23 Championship title after they defeated Vietnam 2-1 in extra-time in an enthralling final on Saturday at the Changzhou Olympic Sports Center in China.
The AFC President said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to convey my heartfelt congratulations to Uzbekistan on their landmark victory and their consistent performances throughout the tournament.
“I must also congratulate the team delegation working tirelessly behind the scenes and the Uzbekistan Football Federation for their commitment towards developing and inspiring tomorrow’s generation of stars.”
The 2018 edition reached new milestones in China with Saturday’s final featuring two teams from the Central and ASEAN zones for the first time in the competition’s history.
It was particularly historic for teams in the ASEAN Zone, with Malaysia becoming the first Southeast Asian team to qualify for the quarter-finals – an achievement eclipsed just days later by Vietnam, who became the first nation from the region to advance into the competition’s final four, before clinching their spot in the final after edging past Qatar on penalties.
“Special praise must also go to Vietnam for their incredible determination. The AFC has underlined our ambitions to see our teams succeed on the biggest stages and the success and scenes of celebration throughout the Continent reinforced once again the remarkable progress of our Member Associations and the undeniable passion for football in Asia,” added Shaikh Salman.
The AFC President went on to thank the local organisers, noting: “From start to finish, the AFC U23 Championship China 2018 has been an enormous success and I must thank the Chinese Football Association and the Local Organising Committee for delivering a truly exceptional platform for Asia’s future stars to shine.”
The championship was also a resounding success on digital media, with social media numbers on three of the AFC’s official platforms peaking at an all-time high and outshining the figures recorded at the tournament’s entire 2016 edition by the end of the Group Stage.
The AFC’s Facebook page (@theafcdotcom) registered an impressive reach of 49.42 million, compared to 5.4 million for the entire AFC U23 Championship Qatar 2016, which was also a qualifying tournament for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, the AFC’s Instagram account (@theafchub) witnessed a similarly impressive growth, with a healthy number of 896,351 likes as opposed to 61,700 just two years ago. The coverage throughout the competition saw an astounding 8.1 million reach.
AFC’s Youtube accounts also exceeded the numbers recorded in the previous edition with 23.34 million minutes viewed compared to just 5.7 million in the 2016 edition. The number of views also increased substantially to 8.7 million compared to 3.4 million previously.
Similarly, the-AFC.com was also a success at engaging with fans and serving as a vital resource platform in keeping the media around the world up to date with over 759k visitors and 3.33 million page views.