Qatar impresses with Asian Cup

AFC president praises Qatar's hosting of Asian Cup calling it the 'perfect rehearsal' ahead of 2022 World Cup.

    South Korea have enjoyed success at the Asian Cup, in a tournament that has impressed AFC boss Bin Hammam [AFP]

    Asian football president Mohamed Bin Hammam has praised Qatar's hosting of the Asian Cup, saying the experience bodes well for their staging of the World Cup finals in 2022.

    Bin Hammam, himself a Qatari, who played a key role in helping bring the World Cup to his homeland, hailed the quality of football on show at the continental showpiece.

    "It's been an extremely well organised event by Qatar," the AFC boss said.

    "Although it is 12 years between now and 2022, it was a very good rehearsal for that competition."


    Qatar has been in the spotlight since it was awarded the right to host the world's biggest single sporting event by world governing body Fifa last month. The small but wealthy country has invested plenty of money at the Asian Cup - the stadiums are shiny and modern, the organisation is excellent, facilities are top-notch and communications work flawlessly.

    Organisers have suffered little criticism for their hosting of the 16-team premier Asian tournament which concludes with the final at the Khalifa Stadium on Saturday, despite low attendances in the opening group stage matches.

    Bin Hammam, who has not ruled out running against Fifa president Sepp Blatter when he stands for re-election in May, has been pleased with the standard of football.

    "This tournament has provided so many teams with such a good standard," he said ahead of Tuesday's semi finals, which see South Korea face Japan and Australia take on Uzbekistan.

    "At least 10 teams are a very good standard.

    "Uzbekistan was not a surprise but they have produced a very good standard and we have Japan, South Korea and Australia, some of the best teams in Asia and they represented us at the World Cup.

    "But Qatar played very well; Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria. There are a lot of countries that played well."

    The main difference between this tournament and the World Cup in 2022 will be the searing temperatures of the summer months when the World Cup is scheduled to be held, with temperatures frequently soaring higher than 122 Fahrenheit.

    Debate has already started about the viability of staging the finals in such hot weather or whether it should be moved to the winter with far more agreeable temperatures, but no decision on that is likely to be taken in the immediate future.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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