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Egypt embarks on Cup of Nations preparations


Cairo (AFP) – Egypt’s sports ministry and Football Federation on Sunday outlined their bid to be ready for the Africa Cup of Nations which starts on June 15.

Egypt took over as hosts for the 2019 tournament last week after Cameroon was stripped of the event due to infrastructure delays and political instability.

“It is with great joy but a huge sense of responsibility that we embark on four or five months of serious hard work,” sports minister Achraf Sobhi said on Sunday. “A supreme committee will be set up to oversee things.”

Sobhi also revealed that the opening ceremony and first match would take place in the 74,000 capacity Cairo International Stadium which was renovated before Egypt hosted the 2006 edition.

Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli said this weekend that work had begun at the stadium to replace the pitch.

Football Federation president Hany Abou Rida said he had every confidence the country would deliver a tournament to make the nation proud.

Authorities have already named eight stadiums they feel are ready to use in Cairo, Alexandria, Ismaila and Suez.

“In fact we have the means to stage matches in seven regions,” football federation official Magdi Abdelghani said Sunday.

The North African country, which has experience in mass tourism, has a multitude of hotels, two international airports, in Cairo and near Alexandria, and a road network linking the main cities.

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