Africa Cup of Nations Notebook - Day 24

Saturday July 13 2019


Cairo’s impressive infrastructure


Even with an extensive network of roads and a rail service, Cairo city is still striving to make commuting sustainable.

Not satisfied with one metro line the Minister of Transportation in Egypt has revealed plans to establish three more new metro lines in three governorates of the city to improve transportation and decrease traffic congestion.

The first metro line is already serving 60,000 passengers daily. Another line will include five surface stations and upper bridges whose construction can be seen. The project’s implementation is expected to take one year at a cost of nearly 8 billion Egyptian Pounds (about Sh50 billion).


Multiple media but freedom curtailed

Egypt has a multitude of media houses that are privately owned and compete for space with government agencies. There are approximately 20 private satellite TV channels.

The government owns the only three terrestrial TV channels. The country has over 21 FM radio stations mostly government-owned and several public and private newspapers. However, private media enterprises are closely monitored by the government. News outlets can be closed and journalists imprisoned or stopped from reporting by the authorities. According to the Tahrir Institute of Middle East Policy, the Egyptian government has jailed 23 journalists.

Cairo Egypt’s most prestigious stadium

Cairo International Stadium is the biggest stadium in Egypt after Borg El Arab Stadium (capacity 86,000), and most prestigious. It was opened in 1958 and has a sitting capacity of 74,000. The stadium played host to the final of the 1986 Africa Nations Cup, and filled up with 100,000 spectators when Egypt beat Cameroon on penalties. In January 1970 it accommodated 130,000 for the final of the African Cup between Ismailia and Mazempe Engelbert of Zaire (now DR Congo).

Renovations worth $25 million (Sh2.5 billion) reduced the capacity to its present level. The stadium hosted the 2019 Afcon opening match and the final will also be staged there.

Italian writes book on African football

Several Europe-based journalists are covering the Africa Cup of Nations.

One of them is called Cizmic Alia Alex, a young Italian-Herzegovinian who owns a website dedicated to reporting on African football.

Alex has gone further and written a book about African football that he has been promoting here in Egypt.

The book is titled: “Travelling to Africa Cup of Nations: History of the Competition and 2019 Afcon Guide Book” and is written in Italian.

Alex says he has a passion for African football and quickly mentions Victor Wanyama, Dennis Oliech, Michael Olunga as players he knows from Kenya.