Impressive Asian Cup 2019 opening ceremony

Saturday, 2019-01-05 23:58:16
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Asia's biggest football festival in 2019 has officially started. (Photo: AFC)
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NDO - The biggest Asian Cup in history has officially begun, with a brief but impressive opening ceremony at Zayed Sports City Stadium, in Abu Dhabi, the UAE on January 5 (local time).

>>> National squad arrive in UAE to kick start 2019 Asian Cup campaign

Audiences at the Stadium as well as millions of football fans around the world enjoyed a party of music and colorful light, honouring the achievements of Asian football, as well as the lively atmosphere of the host country’s culture.

Three famous UAE singers, Hussain Al Jassmi, Balqees Ahmed Fathi and Eida Al Menhali performed the tournament's theme song “Zanaha Zayed” (roughly translated: Bringing Asia together). (Photo: AFC)

“Bringing Asia Together” is also the slogan of this year's Asian Cup, upholding the spirit of a united and successful Asia in many fields, including sports and football.

The highlight of the opening ceremony was the Origami falcons carrying the national flags of the teams participating in the Asian Cup 2019. The falcon is the national symbol of the UAE, and the mascot of this year's Asian Cup is Jarrah, a falcon.

There were roughly about 600 artists from the UAE and around the world participating in live performances at the opening ceremony. (Photo: AFC)

This is the 2nd time that the UAE has hosted the biggest football festival in the continent after the first in 1996, the year when they reached the final and were only defeated against Saudi Arabia in a penalty shootout after drawing 0-0 in 90 minutes and extra time. (Photo: AFC)

The symbol of the tournament is an Emirati boy named Mansour. Mansour's fluid movements extended a warm Emirati welcome to Asia and the rest of the world.

This was the opening ceremony of an impressive Asian Cup with many records, such as the largest number of teams to attend (24 teams), and the largest number of viewers watching the live broadcast of the programme (more than 300 million).

A giant version of the Asian Cup 2019 trophy appeared on stage. Another special feature of this year's tournament is also at the trophy itself, as it is the first time the organisers have launched a new trophy version after 62 years. (Photo: AFC)

The real trophy awarded to the champions is 72 cm tall, 42 cm wide, weighing 15 kg and was produced in monolithic silver. To make this trophy, the goldsmiths had to spend up to 400 hours of work. (Photo: AFC)

The official match ball at the Asian Cup 2019 is sponsored by Japanese sports equipment company Molten. The décor on the ball were inspired by the distinctive patterns of the Arab culture, along with the main colours of the UAE’s national flag.

Shortly after the opening ceremony, the opening match of the Asian Cup 2019 was held between the hosts UAE and Bahrain. The Asian Cup 2019 will take place from January 5 to February 1, with a total of 51 matches. (Photo: AFC)

The Zayed Stadium, with a capacity of more than 43,000 seats, will be the venue for eight matches in this year's tournament, including the opening match of the Vietnam team against Iraq on January 8, as well as the final on February 1. (Photo: AFC)