Middle East, 06 May 2018. To celebrate the eagerly anticipated Final Draw for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, Continental marked the occasion with its own ‘mini-festival of football’ featuring an exclusive meet and greet session with Emirati football legend, Zuhair Bakheet and famous regional football freestyler, Ammar Freez.
Hosted at the Pavilion of the Armani Hotel in Dubai on Friday evening (4th May 2018), the fun activities organised by Continental - the premium tyre and automotive manufacturer, and official sponsor of the upcoming championship – took place prior to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Final Draw that was attended by a host of special guests from across the Asian footballing world.
Making memories to last a lifetime, Emirati footballer Zuhair Bakheet made an exclusive appearance at the Continental stand where he spent quality time with five youngsters and their parents, who gained the opportunity to meet him thanks to Arab football pundit, Mohammed Awaad. As exciting for the parents as it was for the children, the group had the chance to chat face-to-face with their hero and hear about his own experiences at the 1990 World Cup Finals and three AFC Asian Cup finals.
Making his own mark at the ceremony, famous freestyler, Ammar Al Khudairy - also known as ‘Ammar Freez’ – displayed his own impressive ball skills at the foot of Burj Khalifa. Discovered four years ago on television show ‘Arabs Got Talent’, Ammar Freez delighted guests alongside his talented freestyler companion, Hussam Haidar, with a jaw-dropping performance of tricks, kicks and flicks that was matched only by the dramatic backdrop of the world’s tallest building.
Commenting on his being part of the build-up to the historic Final Draw ceremony, Bayan Abdul Razik, aged 42, a UAE resident from Palestine, said, “It was such an honour to meet Zuhair for the first time and hear some of his stories from his playing days, in particular Italia ‘90 and the 1996 AFC Asian Cup, which was the last time it was hosted here in the UAE. He was one of my footballing heroes as a kid so actually sitting down and chatting with him was a dream come true.”
Ricardo Martins, Head of Marketing, Continental Middle East, said, “Continental has always been synonymous with precision and performance. What better way to help us, as an official sponsor of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, celebrate the Final Draw than sharing the day with Emirati football legend, Zuhair Bakheet. We are incredibly proud to sponsor such a prestigious football event here in the region and look forward to the start of the championship in January 2019.”
Continental has been associated with football for over a century, with its first foray into the field in the early 1990s. The world-renowned automotive group generated significant sales from soft rubber footballs at the beginning of the twentieth century. Since then, Continental has been heavily involved in supporting football tournaments and teams over the years, including the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League (1995-2000), the UEFA European Championship (2008, 2012 and 2016) and Major League Soccer in the United States and Canada. It also sponsored the AFC Asian Football Cup in 2015 which was hosted in Australia.