Online tickets for African Nations Cup, work starts on stadiums: Egypt's sports minister

'It is one of the biggest sports events, we will organise the tournament to the highest level,' Minister Ashraf Sobhy said Sunday

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Sunday 3 Feb 2019,

Tickets for the upcoming African Cup of Nations will be available online for football fans as Egypt continues preparations to host the prestigious biennial tournament, Minister of Sports Ashraf Sobhy said Sunday.

"It is one of the biggest sports events," Sobhy said in a seminar at the Cairo International Book Fair. "We will organise the tournament to the highest level."

On 8 January, Egypt was granted hosting rights of the Nations Cup after winning a majority of votes of the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Egypt obtained 16 out of 18 votes, with only one vote going to sole rival South Africa, while the remaining voting country abstained.

The Nations Cup is scheduled to take place from 21 June to 13 July, having been moved from January/February to avoid club-versus-country clashes.

"We are currently working on improving the hosting stadiums. We are also making efforts to ensure tickets are available for everyone by selling them online. This will prevent any monopolistic practices," Sobhy explained.

"All the details of booking the tickets will be available once we get the system ready. Meanwhile, all the hosting stadiums will be closed starting from today, to prepare their pitches and lighting systems for the tournament."

"International companies will be helping in broadcasting matches and the opening ceremony to project the best possible image for Egypt," Sobhy added.

League cancelation not an option

Sobhy reiterated that he opposes the idea of cancelling the current season of the Egyptian Premier League after some reports suggested that the domestic league cannot be completed due to Egypt’s commitments towards the Nations Cup.

"The league will continue as originally planned by the Egyptian Football Association," Sobhy said.

Egypt has hosted four editions of the Nations Cup in 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2006.

The Pharaohs have won the last of their record seven titles in 2010.

This year’s edition has seen major changes, with the tournament expanded to 24 teams up from 16, and moved to a summer schedule instead of its former January-February calendar.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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