Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 June 2019

Egyptian FA picks six venues to host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations matches

Port Said Stadium, scene of of the country's worst football violence in 2012 where 72 supporters died during a stampede, one of six venues chosen across five cities

Delegates from the Confederation of African Football during an inspection of Alexandria Stadium in February. The stadium will be one of six venues to host 2019 African Cup of Nations matches. AFP
Delegates from the Confederation of African Football during an inspection of Alexandria Stadium in February. The stadium will be one of six venues to host 2019 African Cup of Nations matches. AFP

Egypt has announced six venues across five cities to host matches for this year's Africa Cup of Nations.

Port Said Stadium, scene of of the country's worst football violence in 2012 where 72 supporters died during a stampede, was chosen as one of the venues during an Egyptian Football Association (EFA) board meeting in Cairo on Wednesday.

The EFA confirmed to local media that Cairo Stadium, Borg el Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Ismailia Stadium are among the venues chosen for the tournament as well as the army-owned June 30 Stadium, on the outskirts of Cairo, and the Suez Stadium.

The 74,000-seater Cairo Stadium hosted the final of previous Nations Cup tournaments in 1986 and 2006.

The June 30 Stadium replaces Al Salam, another venue on Cairo's outskirts which hosts the domestic and African Champions League matches of the country’s most popular club, Al Ahly.

The Port Said Stadium was closed for five years after the 2012 disaster that followed a league match between Al Masry and Al Ahly.

Al Masry supporters were accused of inciting violence with many of the dead crushed when panicked spectators tried to escape from the stadium after a post-match pitch invasion by home supporters. Others fell or were thrown from terraces.

Al Masry, the home club, were only allowed to return to the venue 12 months ago.

Egypt were chosen ahead of South Africa to host this year's tournament in January after the Confederation of African Football stripped Cameroon of hosting rights over concerns over the country's readiness to host the continental showpiece.

This year’s Nations Cup kicks off on June 21 and has been expanded to include 24 teams. The draw for the group stage will take place in Cairo on April 12.

Fourteen countries have already booked a finals berth, including seven-time champions Egypt and first time participants Madagascar and Mauritania, with the remaining 10 places to be decided when the qualification campaign concludes in March.

This will be the fourth time Egypt has hosted the continental championship and first since 2006, when they beat Ivory Coast on penalties in the final.

Updated: February 20, 2019 03:22 PM

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