Egypt to host football's 2019 African Cup of Nations | Eurasia Diary -

25 June, Tuesday

Egypt to host football's 2019 African Cup of Nations

North African country chosen to host expanded tournament after Cameroon stripped of hosting duties because of delayed preparations

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Egypt will host the African Cup of Nations in June this year, the Confederation of African Football said on Tuesday.

The announcement at a meeting of CAF's exercutive committee in Dakar, Senegal, came after Cameroon was stripped of hosting duties in November because of delays in its preparations.

The revamped continental tournament will take place between 15 June and 13 July, the first time it has been held in the European offseason.

The tournament, which has previously taken place earlier in the year, has also been extended from 16 teams to 24 teams.

Egypt are the most successful country in African Cup of Nations history, winning the tournament seven times, most recently in 2010.

The Pharaohs, whose star player is Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, were beaten 2-1 by Cameroon in the final of the last edition in Gabon in 2017.

The hosts will also be looking to improve on a disappointing performance at the 2019 World Cup at which they lost all three of their matches.

The announcement comes despite the Egyptian government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi being the focus of continuing human rights concerns.

On Monday Human Rights Watch called on the government to reveal details about the number of political prisoners being held after Sisi said in a television interview with CBS that there were no political prisoners in the country.

Michael Page, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW, said that claim was "laughable". HRW estimates that about 60,000 people have been arrested in Egypt on political grounds.

Footballers have also been caught up in the crackdown on political opposition since the 2013 coup that brought Sisi to power.

Mohamed Aboutrika, who is widely considered to be the greatest Egyptian player of all time, is currently living in exile in Qatar after being added to a state terrorism list, along with hundreds of others, over accusations that he funded the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Aboutrika's lawyers are currently contesting the allegation.

Middle East Eye

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