Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Dora-the-Kid and Dora-nikov walked into the city. Having tasted the smell of the UEFA Euro 2016 in France, Kid and Nikov wondered, how would the 2019 AFC Asian Cup perceived.
Since Asia had only two countries to have climbed on top of world's football, Saudi Arabia and Japan, both in youth and women's level; and highest-ranked senior men's teams Japan and Australia by records on winning silver medal, and South Korea in 2002 World Cup, they would love to expose how good Asian teams are.
They walked, and they drank wines in a Korean restaurant of Abu Dhabi, where they had a fine dinner there, three days before the game.
"So, another new soccer tournament to begin."
"(This tournament was modeled after UEFA Euro 2016, so I know the deal of it.)" Nikov said.
"Because the Asian Cup do not achieve a level of popularity like Euro, it is clear that before the tournament, the Emiratis have hired a number of UEFA officials. One of these is my friend, Donald Turner, a Welsh official."
"(UEFA officials to assist for the Asian Cup? No wonder it is treated very special.)"
"I can see the problem here. Stadiums in this country, some are too big and some are too small. I openly criticize this federation, they didn't use their large sum of money to invest for them. Shame."
"(Wow, even they don't try to build more new stadiums …)"
"It is freaky, right? I mean, in soccer, especially for big tournaments, fans need to fill up every stadiums and more fans, demanding for bigger stadiums. However, da fuq that they can choose these shits like Al Nahyan or Sharjah Stadiums without upgrading or renovations?"
Kid dischanted with the quality of the Asian Football Confederation, and Nikov looked on it with another view point.
"(I see why you disdain it, but you have to look, football is just taken root and increasing grap in Asia. Previously, people in the continent do not care on football.)"
"Yeah, and we have now a stupid nation named Kazakhstan wannabe in the UEFA, and they got fucked up by big names like England and Spain. Many UEFA members show extreme depression for allowing Kazakhstan to participate only to see their disappointment. And where was Kazakhstan's first federation? AFC! Kazakhstan is an evidence of this low-quality, and UEFA regrets it."
"(Well, no worry. Just recent years there is a calling campaign to restore Kazakhstan's AFC membership in an open football website. However I don't think it would happen sooner or later, the Kazakh football leaders, whom accused for plagiarism, no planning project and corruption, want marketing profits rather than long term strategy.)"
"That's why I openly criticize this Asian Cup quality and this federation as well. Lucky that Australia had joined to save face for the AFC. They did a stupid thing with Israel before, thus Turkey rejected to join the AFC for many years and the Turks are happy for it."
"(As said, Asians are not football lovers, only in recent years saw the rise.)"
"You mean like Saudi Arabia men's senior? They're the disgrace after 2018 World Cup. Fans openly smeared them and said they won Egypt because Egypt was out as well, not even heroic to mention. At least South Korea, Iran, Japan and Australia performed pretty decent than the Saudis."
"(And they still won.)"
"Won for nothing." Kid stated: "If they were so good your national team wouldn't trash them 5-0. Even Pizzi, whom I met two years ago, stated that if he were fired, he would not try to go to coach Arabs because they could only win against themselves."
Kid stated unfavorably on this Asian Cup, as he had witnessed in previous editions with an unease feeling. Although this is the second oldest tournament on Earth, it failed to attract a large number of supporters, particularly not involving host nation, leaving it the least supported tournament in the world only better than the OFC Nations Cup, and in pair with African Cup of Nations. In contrast, the UEFA Euro, which appeared four years later, is the world's most watched continental tournament following with Copa América.
The restaurant owner, an Ukrainian of Korean descent, came out and asked them too.
"Are you talking about football?"
"Ah yes, but Americans said it, soccer."
"I know, I can differ it." The owner smiled when he arrived to them surprisingly.
"Say, are you Korean?" Kid wondered to know.
"Yes, but from Ukraine. My mother is a Korean in Russia. Just call me Andriy."
"(No doubt why I realize some Ukrainian foods.)" Nikov said: "(It is very good, I feel Ukrainian foods are awesome.)"
"Завжди ставитися до гостей найкращим чином." (Always treat the guests by the best.)
"(Действительно, хотя это немного важно.)" (Indeed, although it is a bit matter.) Nikov smiled as Andriy was about to visit other tables. By then, Kid and Nikov spoke with each other again.
Aftermath saw them finished their dinner. However, first thing Kid always wondered, was to beef up with it. Nikov attempted to squeeze it down.
"(Hey, do you want to go to see the Asian Cup in Zayed Sports City?)"
"I dunno. How?" Kid asked: "I don't even give a damn on buying ticket."
No to wait long, Nikov showed to Kid two pieces of weird small papers, turning to be the ticket for the opening ceremony and, of course, the opening encounter between Bahrain and the host UAE. Kid went on, stated:
"So, how did it work precisely?"
"(Do you remember? You said UEFA officials had come to help AFC officials to train and emerge the tournament. They also assisted them for the opening ceremony of the Asian Cup. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.)"
"Who helped you buy?" Kid checked on, his eyes looked with suspicion.
"(A friend from Greece did so.)"
Then, Kid decided to walk away. He is capable on learning Arabic, so as said, he told: "Nikov, then, keep me one of them. I would love to know three days next, what's new in this rich city."
… Kid and Nikov departed in their way on the desert land, but both were able to have their goods between. The Asian Cup was about to happen, and they would love to experience it.