Egypt has chosen six venues across five cities to host this year’s African Nations Cup finals, local media reported, including the Port Said Stadium where 72 supporters died in the country’s worst violence at a soccer venue in 2012.
After a board meeting, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) confirmed that Cairo Stadium, Borg el Arab Stadium in Alexandria and Ismailia stadium are among the venues chosen for the tournament.
Other venues are the army-owned June 30 Stadium, on the outskirts of Cairo, and the Suez stadium.
The 74 000-seater Cairo Stadium hosted the finals of previous Nations Cup tournaments in 1986 and 2006.
The June 30 stadium replaces Al Salam, another venue on Cairo’s outskirts which hosts the domestic and African Champions League matches of the country’s most popular club, Al Ahly.
The Port Said Stadium was closed for five years after the 2012 disaster that followed a league match between Al Masry and Al Ahly.
Al Masry supporters were accused of inciting violence with many of the dead crushed when panicked spectators tried to escape from the stadium after a post-match pitch invasion by home supporters. Others fell or were thrown from terraces.
Al Masry, the home club, were only allowed to return to the venue 12 months ago.
This year’s Nations Cup kicks off on June 21 and has been expanded to include 24 teams. The draw for the group stage will take place in Cairo on April 12.
Fourteen countries have already booked a finals berth, including first time participants Madagascar and Mauritania, with the remaining 10 places to be decided when the qualification campaign concludes in March.