Stage set for record-breaking AFC Asian Cup 2019 opening ceremony

Falcons, Ayalla and 600 performers prepare to Bring Asia Together in Abu Dhabi

Stage set for record-breaking AFC Asian Cup 2019 opening ceremony

The costumes are ready, the performers are poised and the falcons have been folded… The record-breaking AFC Asian Cup is (almost) here.

More than 300 million viewers are expected to tune into the spectacle at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi, on Saturday.

Emirati singing sensations Hussain Al Jassmi, Balqees Ahmed Fathi and Eida Al Menhali will take to the pitch and serenade the stadium as more than 600 performers set the stage for the tournament’s opener between the hosts UAE and Bahrain.

Keep your eyes peeled for drummers, Ayalla dancers and origami falcons – all uniting to create a series of mesmerising mass choreography formations that promises to bring the stadium and opening ceremony to life.

If you’re lucky enough to have booked your seat, organisers are calling on fans to arrive well ahead of the 7.30pm start time.

Or, if you don’t have yours yet, tickets are still available and cost just Dhs25.

The 51-match tournament, which is being held in the UAE for the second time and is the biggest-ever in the cup’s history, is celebrating “Bringing Asia Together”.

Titled “Zanaha Zayed,” the opening ceremony’s theme song was written by Arif Al Khaja and composed by Khalid Nasser.

Mohammed Darwish Al Zarouni will oversee the spectacle while Roshan Soomarchun directs the dazzling showpiece.

The 13-minute opener will tell the story of Mansour, an Emirati boy inspired by the beauty of the flight of falcons.

Moved by their gracious movements, Mansour extends a warm Emirati welcome to Asia and the rest of the world. 

Produced by those behind the successful opening ceremonies of the UEFA Champions League finals since 2014, the UEFA European Championships 2016 and several CAF African Cup of Nations, the opening ceremony will also feature incredible giant falcons, over-sized lotus petals and a huge replica of the new AFC Asian Cup trophy.

It will be the third global sporting event hosted in Zayed Sports City in as many weeks following on from Real Madrid’s FIFA Club World Cup victory and Novak Djokovic’s tennis triumph.
From Dhs25. Jan 5, 7.30pm. Zayed Sports City Stadium, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, www.asiancup2019.com.

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