CAF, AFC showpieces scintillating kickoff


Asian Cup & Africa Cup successfully opened Image: Africa Cup of Nations & The AFC

The grandest ever edition of Asia’s national team flagship got underway in a spectacular fashion on January 12th with a record number of spectators contributing to the electric atmosphere during the opening match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ between Qatar and Lebanon.

‘AFC’ stated that a total of 82,490 fans thronged the iconic Lusail Stadium in Qatar to witness Qatar get off to a winning start in the 18th edition of Asia’s crown jewel, which eclipsed the previous attendance record of 40,000 for an opening match in AFC Asian Cup™ history that was set in 2004 when China PR and Bahrain played out a 2-2 draw at the 65,094-capacity Workers’ Stadium in Beijing (China).

Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)-based the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football, beach soccer and futsal in most countries/territories in Asia. It has 47 members.

The 2023 AFC Asian Cup is the current 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, the quadrennial international football tournament organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It involves 24 national teams after expansion in 2019, with Qatar the defending champions. It is being hosted by Qatar and got off to a start on January 12th and will conclude on February 10th.

The 88,966-capacity Lusail Stadium is a football stadium in Lusail, Qatar. Owned by the Qatar Football Association (QFA), it is the largest stadium in Qatar and the Middle East by capacity, one of eight stadiums built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™, it hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ Final game between Argentina and France on December 18th, 2022.

The Qatar Football Association (QFA) is the governing body of football in Qatar. The QFA was founded in 1960 and is based in Doha, Qatar. It became a member of FIFA in 1963 and of AFC in 1967.

‘AFC’ further stated that the 3-0 victory, which meant that reigning champions Qatar moved to the top of Group A, was achieved thanks to a brace from Akram Afif and a header from Almoez Ali, with the latter’s strike taking him to joint-second place in the all-time AFC Asian Cup™ scoring charts on 10 goals.

The match also saw the implementation of the Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT) system, marking its debut at an AFC competition and making the AFC the first confederation in the world football to apply the system at the Continental Men’s national team level. The SAOT system complemented the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, which made its full debut following its successful implementation from the Quarter-Final stage during the 2019 tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT) is a support tool for the video match officials and the on-field officials to help them make faster, more reproducible and more accurate offside decisions.

The video assistant referee (VAR) is a match official in association football who assists the referee by reviewing decisions using video footage and providing advice to the referee based on those reviews. The assistant video assistant referee is a match official appointed to assist the VAR in the video operation room.

Africa Cup of Nations

An electric opening ceremony kicked off the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 in thrilling style on January 13th in Abidjan (City in Côte d’Ivoire).

‘CAF’ stated that a capacity 60,000 crowd at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium in Côte d’Ivoire soaked up the colors and culture of Cote d’Ivoire ahead of the tournament opener between the hosts and Guinea Bissau.

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, known for short as the 2023 AFCON or CAN 2023 and for sponsorship purposes as the TotalEnergies 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, is the ongoing 34th edition of the biennial African association football tournament organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). It is being hosted by Côte d’Ivoire and it is the second time it has done so with the West Africa country hosting it the first time in 1984.

The Africa Cup of Nations, sometimes referred to as the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations for sponsorship reasons, or simply AFCON or CAN, is the main international men’s association football competition in Africa. It is sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and was first held in 1957.

6th of October City (Egypt)-based the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is the administrative and controlling body for association football, beach soccer and futsal in Africa.

The 60,012-capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium, commonly known as the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé and formerly as the National Stadium of the Côte d’Ivoire, is a multipurpose stadium in Ebimpé and Anyama, in Northern Abidjan. It opened in 2020.

‘CAF’ further stated that the celebration featured singers, acrobats and dancers in a vibrant showcase of Ivorian tradition and African unity.

Fireworks in the Ivorian national colors lit up the Abidjan sky at the end of the ceremony to launch Africa’s biggest football party in a spectacular fashion.

The stunning spectacle whipped fans into a frenzy moments before kickoff as the continental showpiece got underway.

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