Al-Sisi visits team before AFCON

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 9 Jan 2024

Egypt eased to a 2-0 win over Tanzania in the final preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be held in Cote d’Ivoire from 13 January to 11 February reports Abeer Anwar

Al-Sisi and Salah

 

PRESIDENT Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi recently visited Egypt’s football players preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) taking place in Cote d’Ivoire from 13 January to 11 February.

The team was training at the new Egypt International Olympic Sports City. Al-Sisi noted that the construction of the venue took six years, adding that the state “attaches great importance to fully preparing youth to represent the country at international tournaments”.

According to presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmi, Al-Sisi urged the players to make Egyptians happy.

He expressed pleasure that seven Egyptian footballers are playing in European and other international leagues, hoping that their number would increase in the future.

Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi expressed his confidence in the players. “You have always been the source of happiness for all Egyptian fans. We have provided you with the best training facilities and camps, and we hope that you all come back victorious with the African Cup that we have been longing for so long.”

The Pharaohs are hoping to win a record-extending eighth African championship, and their first in 14 years.

The Olympic City, not fully ready, is part of Egypt’s plan to become the first African country to host an Olympics, in 2036. It has complete state-of-the-art sporting facilities. Costing LE2.8 billion, construction on the gigantic venue began in 2019. It covers 468 acres, with a capacity of 93,440 seats and is set to become Egypt’s new national stadium, along with the renovated Cairo International Stadium.

It will be a three-tier Olympic Stadium, second in Africa only to the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. The arena is being built in the New Administrative Capital, 45km east of Cairo.

The stadium is being built as the centre of a sports complex that also includes two large sports halls, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a hippodrome, a 3,500 spectator tennis complex, squash facilities and training pitches, as well as administrative, cultural buildings and hotels. It is to be the largest complex of its kind in Africa and the Middle East. The multi-purpose venue will be equipped with an athletics track surrounded by three-level oval stands.    

The outstanding complex also features a 7,500-seater indoor arena which was used for the 2021 Handball World Championships.

An equestrian complex is also in the works as well as sites for shooting, 10 five-a-side football pitches, volleyball, basketball, hockey, and beach soccer.

The Olympic City also has a sports medicine hospital, open-air theatre, shopping centres, offices, and playgrounds.

 


* A version of this article appears in print in the 11 January, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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