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Egypt to Host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

Egypt to Host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

Tuesday, 8 January, 2019 - 19:00
Egypt will host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Egypt will host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in June and July after Cameroon was dropped as organizer due to preparation delays and security concerns

It scored a landslide 16-1 victory over sole rivals South Africa in a vote in Dakar.

Egypt football boss Hany Abo Rida admitted Tuesday, however, that the country was in a race against time to host the tournament, which kicks off on June 15.

He told reporters in the Senegalese capital that having only six months to prepare was a major obstacle.

"Our biggest challenge is time. There is a lot of work to do, but we can manage. I am not worried. We will do our best," he said.

"When we last hosted the tournament in 2006 it was a big success. We had 16 competing nations then, now there are 24. I believe we will succeed."

"There are big plans for security," insisted Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee member Rida. "I think we will have no problem."

Egypt entered the contest to host the Cup of Nations only when fellow north African country Morocco announced they would not bid.

Morocco were the media favorites to replace Cameroon and Egypt said they "did not want to compete against a fellow Arab nation".

Egypt boast many international-standard venues with the Cairo International Stadium (72,000) and Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria (87,000) boasting the largest capacities.

The choice of Egypt will make them favorites to win a record-extending eighth Cup of Nations title having finished runners-up to Cameroon in Libreville two years ago.

Egypt won three of the four previous tournaments they hosted, failing only in 1974 when they were beaten by Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in the semi-finals.

The star of the current team, Liverpool sharpshooter Mohamed Salah, is favorite to retain the African Player of the Year award in Dakar.

Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and Uganda have qualified for the 2019 tournament.

The other 10 places will be filled after the final qualifiers between March 18 and 26.

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