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Africa Cup of Nations Notebook - Day 20

Tuesday July 09 2019
egypt_pix

Fans use their phones to light during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 match between Egypt and South Africa at the Cairo International Stadium in the Egyptian Capital on July 6, 2019. PHOTO | KHALED DESOUKI |

By CHARLES NYENDE

IN CAIRO

Bread in plenty and price subsided

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Recently the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade here in Egypt issued a statement clarifying that it will continue to subsidize the price of diesel fuel used by bakeries producing traditional subsidized bread. The number of subsidized bread loaves produced per day in Egypt ranges from 260 million to 275 million. The consumer price is fixed at 5 Piasters (about Sh31.25). And interestingly, almost every meal you have in a restaurant you are added bread. Loaves are sold in shops and on roadsides. The wheat product is indeed a staple food of the Egyptian people.

VAR use from quarters

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There has certainly been some controversial officiating at this Afcon. Eliminated Ghana were clearly robbed when the referee called for a handball infringement leading to Andre Ayew’s strike against Tunisia in their round of 16 fixture disallowed, just to pick one. Thankfully, Video Assistant Referee technology will be introduced in this championships from the quarter-finals stage which start on Wednesday. Not that VAR will eliminate contentious calls, but at least every referee will be officiating knowing there is another pair of eyes watching the game and can be called upon to assist in making those very tight calls that do sometimes determine match outcomes.

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Mystery of fans turning on their mobile torches

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A curious phenomenon that was noticed during the jam-packed matches involving hosts Egypt was thousands of fans simultaneously turning on their mobile phone torchlights, turning the stands into a miniature star-filled galaxy. What is the explanation for this action? It is a simple tribute to victims killed in deadly stadium clashes after the 2011 revolution in this country. One of the incidents in February 2012 saw security forces storm the field at the Port Said stadium during a match between Al Masry and Al Ahly. Dozens of fans died and it is one of the darkest moments in Egyptian football history.

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