#2019AFCONABC: Know the stadia to host 24 teams
All eyes will be on Egypt as they host this year’s AFCON after beating South Africa to the rights for the tournament.
Both nations, however, were not originally slated to host this year’s contest. The initial rights holders, Cameroon, failed to meet the deadlines set for preparations ahead of the tournament.
The intervention by CAF meant that any country that took over the hosting rights needed to be ready in time for the continent’s prestigious soccer festival.
ABC News Ghana’s coverage of AFCON profiles the stadia and the cities they are located in ahead of the soccer fiesta.
This year’s edition will see an expanded number from 16 to 24 teams and the introduction of Round of 16 which initially didn’t exist. Subsequent #2019AFCONABC news updates will provide these details.
The Cairo stadium, Air Defense stadium, Al Salam Stadium, Alexandria Stadium, Suez Stadium and Ismailia stadium will host all matches for the tournament.
Cairo International Stadium
The Cairo International Stadium will host the opening game of the 2019 AFCON in Egypt when the host nation faces Zimbabwe and what is expected to be a keenly contested clash despite Egypt being favourites. The stadium will also host all Group A games and the closing match which will crown the winner.
The Egyptian team will hope that their luck in the 75, 000 sitting capacity stadium will continue as they have previously won two out of three AFCON, 1998 and 2006, played there.
The Al Salam Stadium which was established in 2009 is another key stadium in Egypt used by some of its biggest clubs. The 30,000 capacity stadium will host all Group D matches.
The Air Defense stadium is a multipurpose sports complex built by the Egyptian Air Defense Forces. It is used by the Security services for various activities and hosted Pope Francis when he visited Egypt. Close to 15,000 people were at the stadium to see the Pope.
All group C matches will be played in this iconic stadium which will have strict security.
Considered the home of football in Egypt, the historic stadium will host all Group B matches. It is considered Egypt’s home of football because it is the location where the first ever football game was played in the country.
Alexandria Stadium is considered Egypt’s second ‘national’ stadium and has hosted some of the country’s key matches and tournaments. The stadium will be able to carry 20, 000 football fans as they watch the match.
Football lovers on the continent particularly within Egypt will be excited to be the first people to witness the Suez stadium host a tournament of any kind since it was established in 1990.
The 27,000 capacity stadium has never been used for any football tournament since its construction despite being used as home stadium for native clubs.
Group F will play their matches in this stadium. The 18,000 seating capacity stadium will host fans of Ghana, Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau. Ghana and Cameroon will kick off their tournament on 25th June and the last round of group games will be played on 2nd July.
The matches will be played in 4 cities but in 6 stadia.