Asian Cup arrives in the UAE: Emirates flies trophy from Japan to Dubai
The tournament begins in the new year
If you were concerned your recent fix of football in the UAE was about to end you can rest easy, as a reminder has arrived that there's plenty more to come.
Attention will then turn to the Asian Cup which is being held in the UAE for the first time since 1996. And as anticipation builds for the tournament, Emirates has flown the trophy to Dubai from Japan, via Hong Kong, ready for it to be lifted by the winners.
The trophy, which will replace the previous one in use since the first tournament in 1956, was first unveiled in Dubai in May.
It is inspired by the lotus flower, which symbolises peace throughout Asia, and the five petals represent the five regional associations under the Asian Football Confederation.
Emirates, the official airline partner of the 2019 Asian Cup, has substantial links to the football industry.
Its shirt sponsorships include AC Milan, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Hamburger, Olympiacos, Benfica, and Arsenal in a deal which includes naming rights to the club's Emirates Stadium. The airline is also the title sponsor of The Emirates FA Cup in England.
The Asian Cup starts on January 5, when the UAE face Bahrain at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium, and runs until February 1.
Drawn in Group A, the UAE face India at the same venue on January 10 and round off the pool against Thailand four days later at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.
Updated: December 21, 2018 10:14 AM