UAE stadia upgraded and ready for AFC Asian Cup kick off this weekend

4 January 2019

For the first time in history eight stadiums will welcome 24 teams from across the Continent for the upcoming Asian Cup, the world’s second oldest continental competition.

In just 48 hours’ time, hosts United Arab Emirates will face Bahrain at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi to kick off arguably the most competitive Asian Cup to date.

No expense has been spared on upgrading the stadiums being used. The 45,000-seat Zayed Sports City stadium (pictured) had to undergo major changes that included a new turf pitch and lighting while Al Wahda’s Al Nahyan ­Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Al Nasr’s Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai also needed major upgrades.

“Significant enhancements have taken place across venues in each host city to ensure that teams and supporters have the best facilities throughout this tournament with the eyes of Asia and beyond watching with excitement,” said tournament Director Aref Hamad Al Awani.

“All eight stadiums had their own challenges and to carry it out was a massive task. They were long processes as the requirements were different from one stadium to another. However, now we can proudly look back and say that we have achieved it and look forward to the tournament becoming a smash hit. And what we have invested will remain as the legacy for UAE football.

“With 51 games taking place in the biggest-ever AFC Asian Cup, venues have the latest technology to ensure perfect playing conditions, as we bring the latest in grass and pitch technology to the region for the first time.

“Each stadium has its own character and qualities, from being up close to the action in compact venues, to excellent elevated views of matches in some of the biggest stadiums in the region.”

The 2019 tournament, taking place in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah, will be the second time the UAE has hosted the event, after successfully staging the finals in 1996.