Saudi football federation officially launches bid to host 2027 AFC Asian Cup

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) officially announced the launch of its campaign to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup on Wednesday. (SAFF)
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Updated 09 September 2020

Saudi football federation officially launches bid to host 2027 AFC Asian Cup

  • Focused on the future, the Saudi Arabia team unveiled a new bid logo and slogan: “Forward for Asia”

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) officially announced the launch of its campaign to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup on Wednesday.

Focused on the future, the Saudi Arabia team unveiled a new bid logo and slogan: “Forward for Asia.”

According to the bid team, bringing the AFC Asian Cup 2027 to Saudi Arabia for the first-time ever would be an opportunity to ensure that momentum being created by football in the Kingdom is not only carried forward, but that it is renewed and expanded to include each and every football association across Asia.

SAFF President Yasser Al-Mashal said: “As we in Saudi Arabia undertake our own transformation forward through our national Vision 2030, we want to use our long-standing passion for football as a catalyst for the continued growth of football across Asia.

“Our vision for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup is to build much more than a tournament. We want to create a massive move forward for all of Asia, one that is focused on creating a new experience, a new exchange and a new expansion. We look forward to sharing our ideas with the entire Asian football family in the coming months,” he added.

The Saudi national team has a long and successful history, having won the AFC Asian Cup three times and qualified for the FIFA World Cup five times but has never hosted one of the major international football tournaments.

SAFF General Secretary, Ibrahim Alkassim followed by saying: “The Saudi Arabian Football Association is not only committed to hosting an exceptional AFC Asian Cup in 2027, but we are also committed to creating a strong impact across Asian football as part of organizing the tournament here in Saudi Arabia.

“We are committed to making a 2027 Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia a huge step forward for all AFC Member Associations,” he added.

The Saudi 2027 bid logo represents the powerful combination of three elements, the golden falcon, football and wings.

The golden falcon Saudi Arabia’s national bird which highlights the ongoing passion of the nation is combined with football which portrays the nation’s commitment to hosting the 2027 AFC Asian Cup and ensuring renewal, expansion and positive momentum; the logo then lastly integrates with the wings which resemble partnership and moving forward.

According to a SAFF statement, the combination symbolizes the boldness, strength and commitment of the Kingdom to Asian football.


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”