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Egypt’s biggest venue left out as AFCON stadia confirmed

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has confirmed the venues that will be used during this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), with the country’s biggest stadium having been left off the list.

Egypt was announced as the new host of the tournament earlier this month. The North African country replaced Cameroon, which was stripped of hosting rights in December amid delays in stadium construction.

The tournament is due to take place in Egypt from June 15 to July 13, although the EFA has requested that it begins a day earlier. Egypt saw off competition from South Africa to land hosting rights and the venues that will be used during the tournament have now been confirmed.

“The stadiums are Port Said Stadium in Port Said, Suez and Military stadiums in Suez, Cairo Stadium in Cairo, El-Salam Stadium in Qalioubiya, Alexandria and Haras-Elhodoud stadiums in Alexandria and Ismailia Stadium in Ismailia,” EFA chairman Hani Abo-Rida said, according to the Ahram Online news website.

“We don’t choose a stadium only for its green pitch, but also we put into consideration other key factors like the hotels, transportation and the atmosphere in the hosting city.”

The 86,000-seat Borg El Arab Stadium (pictured) near Alexandria has not been included in the proposed venue line-up. The BBC noted that the stadium will instead be on standby to host any matches involving the host nation that are not held outside Cairo.

Abo-Rida added: “We preferred to exclude Alexandria’s Borg El Arab Stadium after it hosted many league matches in recent years. We need to do our best in the coming period to get Cairo Stadium at its best before the tournament.

“Ismailia Stadium needs huge work to be ready. We can’t punish the city by excluding its stadium due to the crowd trouble in the recent Confederation Cup match (between Egypt’s Ismaily and Tunisian side club Africain).”

Cameroon won the most recent edition of the Cup of Nations in 2017, which was staged in Gabon.

Image: Abdelrhman 1990