Abu Dhabi: With the AFC Asian Cup just two months away, children from Jumeira Baccalaureate School had a surprise visitor in two-time winner Majed Abdullah.
Asian Cup ambassador Abdullah unveiled a replica of the new Asian Cup trophy during the football activities and hosted a special question and answer session on his glistening career, which saw him clinch the Asian Footballer of the Year award on three occasions.
Bringing the celebration of the Asian Cup closer to communities, hundreds of thrilled children showcased their football passion, skills and knowledge as well as goal-scoring celebrations alongside Abdullah, who netted over 70 goals for Saudi Arabia during his playing career.
Commenting on his visit to the school, Abdullah said: “Football is so powerful in bringing many different people from all backgrounds and nationalities together, whether at the stadiums or in a classroom.
“Being at the school has shown us the excitement among young football fans for the AFC Asian Cup tournament and it’s great that we have been able to share the enthusiasm ahead of the tournament.
“The love of football from the young fans was so energising and they showed me a lot of their skills during the visit, including some new goal celebrations, although I prefer my celebration to the ‘dab’ they taught me.”
Speaking on the two-month countdown to the Asian Cup, tournament director for the Local Organising Committee, Aref Hamad Al Awani, said: “The excitement for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 continues to grow among football fans of all ages and we have seen this first hand, across the schools’ programme.
“Communities throughout the UAE have already played a significant part in the build up to the tournament, creating excitement and enthusiasm for this great tournament. Having seen great energy across the UAE, supporters coming to the country for the tournament can be confident of a warm and welcoming reception as we bring Asia together through football.”
The Schools’ Programme, which will engage with over 75,000 youngsters throughout the UAE, encourages youngsters to think outside the box and improve leadership skills through the power of football as they participate in the ‘Be A Captain’ activities to boost their capabilities in problem-solving, critical thinking and fitness performance.
As the tournament edges closer, sports enthusiasts can be part of the action, signing up to one of the community programmes such as volunteering opportunities or the chance to become a Playmaker, Community Ambassador by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets for the tournament are available online by visiting www.the-afc.com with prices starting from Dh25.