Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 August 2019

Timeframe: The opening ceremonies of the 1996 AFC Asian Cup

There were differences to this year's event, but Emirati hospitality featured strongly in both

AFP
AFP

It’s been 23 years since the country hosted the AFC Asian Cup. In 1996, only 11 teams competed, ­compared to the 24 that are here for this year’s tournament – and Saudi Arabia beat the host country in the final after penalties.

The opening ceremonies were different as well, with traditional Emirati dances taking place on a beach on the Corniche and, as seen here, two giant floating footballs provided the backdrop. This year, the festivities took place at Zayed Sports City as Emirati singers Hussain Al Jassmi, Eida Al Mehali and ­Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathis ­performed before the opening match between the hosts and Bahrain.

Of course, we hope that the final also features the UAE, but along the way, we look forward to great matchups in the capital, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah, and we plan to have a ball.

________________

Read more:

Asian Cup in the UAE: A look back on the last time the Emirates played host in 1996 - in pictures

2019 Asian Cup gets under way with opening ceremony - in pictures

The Emirati superfan whose tears won hearts now dreams of glory at Asian Cup

________________

Updated: January 10, 2019 06:14 PM

SHARE

SHARE