With 150 days to the Asian Cup 2019, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has praised the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for its commitment to hosting a truly world-class spectacle as Asia’s best teams return to the United Arab Emirates for the second time in the tournament’s history from January 5 to February 1, 2019.

The AFC President said: “The Local Organising Committee has been working diligently to stage the best-ever AFC Asian Cup edition – one that reinforces the AFC’s Vision and Mission to deliver top-level competitions for our players, teams and passionate fans.

“On behalf of the Asian football family, I want to thank the LOC for sharing our aspirations of “Bringing Asia Together” and for the level of professionalism and dedication demonstrated throughout the planning and final preparation stages.”

To celebrate the 150-day countdown, the LOC has confirmed that registration for the much-anticipated volunteer programme will go live on August 31, 2018 where as many as 5000 passionate football fans across Asia will have the chance to not only watch sporting history but be a part of the biggest football event on the Continent.

The exciting lead up to Asia’s crown jewel of competitions has already marked several recent milestones, reaching fever pitch with the launch of ticket sales last week. The volunteer recruitment drive bolsters the already robust line-up of community programmes aimed at creating a lasting legacy by bringing communities together.

The latest announcements were hot on the heels of a host of enhancements introduced to further strengthen the stature of Asia’s most prestigious competition, which will see a stunning new trophy lifted for the first time since the inaugural edition in 1956, the introduction of USD14.8m prize purse, a new Molten tournament match ball and the unveiling of the official mascots – Mansour and Jarrah.

Shaikh Salman added: “At the forefront of the AFC’s ambition is the desire to excite and entertain the biggest football community on the planet. The LOC has been sparing no efforts in their pursuit to inspire people from all walks of life, to capture the action, the passion and to create an unforgettable experience for our fans.

“I have no doubt that the AFC Asian Cup 2019 will leave a lasting legacy not just in the UAE, but for the entire Asian football family.”

Speaking on the 150-day countdown to the tournament, His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, Tournament Director of the LOC commented: “The LOC is proud of the strides taken to date but even more excited by what is about to come. Literally millions of Asian fans living in the UAE will have the opportunity to support their national teams, many for the first time in their lives. Alongside the AFC, we share a vision for this tournament to truly ‘Bring Asia Together’ and unite all communities through the beautiful game”.

He added: “The spirit of the tournament already lives through a number of important community initiatives and soon it will be time for the volunteers to get involved. This will contribute to a truly unique sporting experience, unparalleled in scope and scale for any event ever held in the region.”

Tickets for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 are available at www.afcasiancup2019.com