Qatar has become the fourth AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 competitor to announce plans for a pre-competition training camp ahead of the January tournament.
Qatar will set up base at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra from late December to prepare for its matches.
Their decision means Qatar joins Bahrain (Ballarat), China (Campbelltown) and Jordan (Melbourne) in securing pre-competition sites.
Michael Brown, CEO of the Asian Cup Local Organising Committee, said the deal was a huge boost for the national capital and a reminder that Australia’s biggest ever football tournament was fast approaching.
“This is a real coup for Canberra. It speaks highly of the wonderful facilities on offer at the Australian Institute of Sport, and all the work that has gone into making this happen,” said Mr Brown.
“I’m sure Qatar’s players, management and team delegation will receive an enthusiastic reception, and that the people of Canberra will reach out and adopt Qatar.
“With less than five months to go until kick-off, this is another significant development that raises the excitement level another notch.”
Mr Brown said Canberrans could look forward to some world-class football featuring Asia’s best 16 teams, including Qatar’s opening match against United Arab Emirates.
“Canberra hosts seven matches in all – one quarter-final and six group matches,” he said.
“Two of them feature the mighty Korean Republic, World Cup finalists and twice former Asian Cup champions.
“Canberra will also host China’s match against dark horse North Korea, and an enchanting meeting between Iraq, the fairytale winners in 2007, and Palestine, who are proving to be the Cinderella story of the 2015 tournament.”