Fans are the lifeblood of football and no other competition in Asia generates as much fervour, excitement and drama than the AFC Asian Cup. As the build-up to the Continent’s ultimate showpiece hits fever pitch, passionate fans from all walks of life, across all nationalities are coming together to showcase their support for their teams in the UAE.
Epitomising the attributes of a die-hard fan is none other than Hajar Khalid, the 17-year old who fits the bill of a true Playmaker, on and off the pitch.
Having played the game since the age of four, the Iraqi footballer and school captain is putting her leadership skills to further use as a community ambassador, becoming the 600th Playmaker for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
The Player of the Season hopes to inspire more of her peers with her hard work and dedication, challenging more people to play a part in the AFC Asian Cup: “A leader has to play with their heart, not just their feet and their brain, day in and day out. That’s why I am looking forward to supporting my country in the AFC Asian Cup and hopefully cheering them to victory.
“I was a flag bearer at a major tournament last year. That experience showed me that it doesn't matter if you are a child, youth or elderly, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain because you can enjoy everything much more by being a part than being a spectator.”
His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, Tournament Director for the Local Organising Committee, shared Hajar’s enthusiasm, commenting: “The support for the Playmakers Programme has been overwhelming now that we have reached the 600 mark, which exceeds the initial call to action we made months ago.
“There has been a great demand from people wanting to become Playmakers and spread the message of the AFC Asian Cup throughout the communities. The work that has been done so far is also something that so many people should be extremely proud of.”
The Playmakers Programme has had support from a number of agencies, businesses and embassies ahead of the tournament, with many more individuals committing to help raise awareness of the tournament’s news and events.
For further information on the Playmakers Programme or to sign up to become a community ambassador to support your country in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, please email firstname.lastname@example.org