Asian Cup ‘one year to go’ countdown launched in Sydney

Sydney, Jan 10: Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Friday marked in Sydney the “one year to go” countdown of the Asian Cup football tournament to be held in the country next year.

The state will host two world-class sporting events — the AFC Asian Cup and the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015, reports Xinhua.

Victor Dominello, NSW minister of citizenship and communities, hosted the countdown briefing, saying that the two tournaments would strengthen cultural ties between the people of NSW and the competing nations from across Asia.

Gabrielle Upton, NSW minister for sport and recreation, said at the briefing that the Asian Cup will be the largest football tournament ever hosted in Australia and will offer fans 32 games in 23 days to be played between Asia’s top 16 nations.

A total of 12 teams have already qualified for the Asian Cup, including Australia, Japan, South Korea, DPR Korea, Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

A further four spots are still at stake, according to the Asian Cup organisers.

Afterwards, the ICC Cricket World Cup organisers held a 400-day countdown briefing on the same occasion.

The 12 qualified teams are from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe. Two other teams are yet to qualify.

The Asian Cup will kick off Jan 9, 2015, finishing Jan 31. The ICC Cricket World Cup will take place from Feb 14 to March 29, 2015.

IANS