A glittering cast of Asian football’s who’s who will add lustre to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ Final Draw ceremony on Thursday in Doha, Qatar, when Asia’s top 24 teams discover their path to ultimate glory amidst the glamorous setting of the Katara Opera House.
No less than seven Asian football luminaries will be present to lend a helping hand to the chief draw conductor AFC General Secretary, Datuk Seri Windsor John, in unveiling the fate of the teams in the four pots when the highly anticipated spectacle kicks off at 2pm Qatar time.
The illustrious draw assistants have been specially selected to represent the AFC’s five zones that will compete in the 18th edition of Asia’s crown jewel and need little by way of introduction.
Fittingly, Hassan Al Haydos, who captained the Maroons to a historic maiden triumph in the previous edition of the AFC Asian Cup™, leads the ensemble, which also includes two-time AFC Asian Footballer of the Year, Server Djeparov.
They will be joined by the world-renowned duo of Korea Republic legend Park Ji-sung, one of the most successful Asian footballers in history, and Australian icon Tim Cahill.
And, in a remarkable and welcome first for the flagship draw, a trailblazing trio of women – Yoshimi Yamashita, Sun Wen and Maymol Rocky – round off the group of draw assistants.
Top Japanese referee Yamashita became one of the first woman to ever officiate at the men’s FIFA World Cup when she took the field during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, while Sun, the former China PR captain who won both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 1999, is regarded as one of the game’s greatest ever players.
Maymol, the first female to lead India’s women’s national team in 2017 and the current head coach of their U20 women’s side, will also take the stage.
AFC General Secretary, Datuk Seri Windsor John, said: “After just over three years of intense and thrilling action in the Qualifiers, all eyes will rightly be on the Final Draw that will take place on Thursday.
“The excitement to discover the fate of Asia’s finest is palpable and I am very confident that the AFC, along with the Qatar Football Association and the Local Organising Committee, will deliver a world-class event tomorrow.
“I am also certain that everyone is looking forward to the presence of our Asian football stars, whose involvement will enhance the prestige and glamour of the Draw right here in Doha.”
“Playing on the biggest stage in Asian football is always an honour, and to have the ability to defend our trophy at home will make this AFC Asian Cup™ even more special,” Hassan Al Haydos said.
“We are excited to be a part of what will undoubtedly be a memorable tournament.
“Qatar will host the tournament for a historic third time, and we are confident that this will be a spectacular event, starting with the Final Draw.
“We are excited to welcome everyone back to Qatar and to build on the success of hosting a phenomenal World Cup in 2022.”
With every team eager to discover their fate, the head coaches of all 24 sides are expected to be in attendance for proceedings, which will be hosted by well-known sports anchor, John Dykes.
Park Ji-sung, whose final AFC Asian Cup™ tournament came in 2011 when he led Korea Republic to a third-place finish, added: “It is a great pleasure for me to be part of the Final Draw in Doha, among my fellow Asian stars, as we take another huge step towards the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™.
“I still have good memories from my time at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011™ and the country has only gone from strength to strength since as hosts, so I am sure that the 2023 edition will be a bigger and better affair.”
For all that you need to know about the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ Final Draw, we have you covered here and passionate fans of Asian football can catch the draw ceremony live here.
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