Egypt replaced Cameroon as hosts of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations competition after the central African nation’s rights to host the competition were revoked due to political unrest and infrastructural delays.
With South Africa’s existing infrastructure already in place after hosting the 2010 World Cup, many thought they would be the obvious choice to step into the place of Cameroon and host the tournament, but it wasn’t to be, with the Egyptians easily securing the rights. While they might not be the newest, the Egyptian stadiums are certainly good enough to host the most exciting international competition on the African continent.
Here is some more information on each of the host stadiums for this year’s tournament:
Cairo International Stadium
Image source: independent.ng
Situated near Nasr, Giza, the Cairo International Stadium is the home of perennial powerhouses, Al-Ahly and Zamalek, as well as the Egyptian national team. It has hosted the AFCON final on three separate occasions, with Egypt winning in two of them.
Its 75,000-seat capacity makes it by far the largest stadium in the capital, and while it will host the opening game, it is also looking likely to host this year’s final.
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In addition to hosting the AFCON, the stadium has also hosted several other major tournaments including the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 1991 All-Africa Games, and the derbies between Al-Ahly and Zamalek.
In the group stages, the Cairo International Stadium will play host to Group A matches involving Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Image source: thenational.ae
The Alexandria Stadium was built in 1929 and is the oldest stadium in Egypt. It has played host to a number of major tournaments, most notably the Africa Cup of Nations in 1986 and 2006.
The first football game ever played in Egypt was hosted at the Alexandria Stadium, leading to it being branded as the home of football
in Egypt. It is home to Egyptian Premier League sides Al Ittihad, Smouha and Olympic Club, and will host five group games and one Round of 16 match in this year’s AFCON.
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The stadium, which after being slightly remodelled, can hold 20,000 fans and has been built in the old Roman style, will play host to Group B matches involving Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, and Burundi.
30 June Stadium
Image source: allfootballapp.com
As a multi-purpose stadium, the 30 June Stadium hosts competitive football matches and athletics events. Built by the Egyptian Air Defense Forces, the ground has a capacity of 30,000 and is home to Egyptian Premier League side, Pyramids FC.
Notorious for a stampede in 2015 which saw 22 fans lose their lives in clashes with police at the gates, the 30 June Stadium will host all but one of the Group C fixtures at the Africa Cup of Nations, as well as one Group A and Group D match, and one match each in the Round of 16, the Quarter-Finals, and the Semi-Finals.
Al Salam Stadium
Image source: Stadium Google Page
Based in Cairo and built in 2009, the Al Salam Stadium has a capacity of 30,000 and is home to Egyptian Premier League side El Entag El Harby, and on the odd occasion, Al Ahly.
The stadium played host to all Group B games at the 2009 U-20 FIFA World Cup, and will host seven group matches, one Round of 16 game, and a quarter-final in this year’s AFCON.
Image source: stadiumpostcards.com
Situated in arguably the most beautiful city in Egypt, the Ismailia Stadium – which also hosts athletics events – has a capacity of just over 18,000 and is home to Ismaily SC in the Egyptian Premier League.
The Stadium hosted just one match at the 2006 AFCON tournament, which saw huge underdogs, Zimbabwe, beat Ghana 2-1. This year, however, the Ismailia Stadium will host seven matches – five Group F games, one Group E game, and on Round of 16 match.
Image source: egypttoday.com
The Suez Stadium will play host to its first ever international tournament since it opened in 1990. With a seated capacity of 27,000, it is odd to think that the city of Suez hasn’t been given the chance to host a major tournament in the past.
Home to local sides Asmant Al-Suweis and Petrojet, the stadium will play host to five Group E games, one Group F and one Round of 16 match, and a single Quarter-Final match.
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