AFC President lauds Qatar and biggest-ever AFC Asian Cup
Abu Dhabi: AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has hailed Qatar for creating history in claiming a first-ever AFC Asian Cup title after the West Asians defeated Japan 3-1 in a riveting final at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in the UAE on Friday.
“On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Qatar for their remarkable grit and passion throughout the tournament.
“In claiming their maiden crown, Qatar have set the benchmark for all Asian teams and I am sure their success will serve as an inspiration for everyone to scale even greater heights."
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“This victory is testament to the hard work and immaculate planning undertaken by the Qatar Football Association and special praise must also go to the coaching staff and everyone working tirelessly behind the scenes.
“Both teams reached the final undefeated and we must congratulate Japan for showcasing great resolve throughout the tournament and their outstanding efforts to compete with Qatar, culminating in a spectacular final for the Continent’s passionate fans.”
The AFC President also praised the outstanding efforts of everyone involved including the Government of UAE, United Arab Emirates Football Association, the Local Organising Committee, all the competing teams and Member Associations as well as the broadcasters, commercial partners and fans for ensuring the success of the biggest-ever Continental showpiece in history.
He added: “The AFC decided to expand the tournament from 16 to 24 teams to provide more opportunities for our Member Associations to compete at the highest level and I am particularly pleased by the impact and legacy of the competition on our teams.
“I have no doubts that the commendable displays by our developing nations will drive others to emulate their success and ultimately, raise the level of competition throughout the Continent."
Shaikh Salman added: “As with all expansions, and all maiden endeavours, challenges are unavoidable, so I must thank the Local Organising Committee for staging a memorable tournament – one that showcased Asia’s undeniable talent and incredible passion for football.
“I must also express our thanks to all our Member Associations, our fervent fans, our generous volunteers, members of the media and all our commercial partners for coming together.
“More importantly, for doing their part to create Asian footballing history in staging the biggest-ever edition and for laying the foundations to create a lasting legacy for football in Asia.”
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