AFCON 2019: How Safe Is Egypt To Host Africa?
Since CAF awarded the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations hosting right to Egypt, many have been wondering if the north African country can be secured before and during the tournament.
CAF on Tuesday gave the Egypt the hosting rights ahead of South Africa after Cameroon was stripped for lack of infrastructure.
Security fears is no doubt one of the biggest challenges facing the government and the Egyptian Football Association (EFA).
Since the 2011 revolt and ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the country has been hit by jihadist attacks and its forces have launched an operation against them in the Sinai Peninsula.
It has also witnessed deadly violence in and around stadiums during club matches, in response to which it has beefed up security and banned fans from attending, a measure eased only recently.
But the authorities say Egypt can cope.
“We are a safe country,” said Karam Kurdi, a member of the EFA board.
Egypt specialists say that the continent’s football colossus will be able to organise the event even at such short notice.
“Compared to other African countries, Egypt is considered one of the best in terms of infrastructure,” said Tarek Talaat, a journalist specialising in African football for the Yalla Kora website.
“We have to be ready two months before the competition, so we have three months,” EFA spokesman Ossama Ismail said.
An organising committee would be formed, including the sports ministry, security services and football authorities, he told AFP.
Details about preparations for the competition, which has been increased from 16 to 24 teams and scheduled to be staged between June 15 and July 13, would be known “in the coming days”, he added.
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