Africa Cup of Nations Notebook - Day 7

Wednesday March 18 2020

An Uganda fan gestures prior to their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match against Zimbabwe at the Cairo International Stadium on June 26, 2019. PHOTO | KHALED DESOUKI |


Security decidedly on top of its game

Security in Egypt is as visible as it is invisible, and deadly efficient. At the hotel where I was staying, a chandelier suddenly fell down with a noisy bang.

Within seconds, one of the uniformed policemen in the building was at the scene, together with a man in a suit with a distinct bulge on his side and other plainly dressed men who had "security" written all over their faces.

They quickly ascertained that there was nothing sinister as two slightly injured fans were treated.

Armed personnel prevalent in Cairo


Cairo is a busy city of over 100 million people. But you can sometimes wonder if this capital city is a war zone.

All sorts of Armed Forces personal are visible on the streets, from the white uniformed police, the black uniformed police, grey uniformed officers — who look some kind of special police force or elite army unit — can be seen on many streets.

There are even armoured personnel carriers with men armed to the teeth crawling around.

Here, taxi drivers rob you in daylight


If you allow it, before you catch up with the game, taxi drivers in Cairo will have fleeced you, but with a smile and with flourish.

A trip that should cost, for example, 40 Egyptian Pounds (about Sh250), you will be charged 100 EGP (Sh625), sometimes 70 EGP (Sh438) and other times 50 EGP (313).

But after getting familiar with the surroundings, you discover that the trip should actually not cost more than 30 EGP (Sh187). Taxi drivers know what price to quote to whom.

Journos struggle travelling to venues


Here media transport was organised with schedules that were communicated to all accredited journalists on the Caf Media Channel, there is none of that here.

Caf did send a schedule and pick up points indicating where bused can be boarded but no single media bus has been sighted.

Journalists have had to jostle with fans for taxi rides after the match. And with the language problem — if one does not speak Arabic, that is — it has been challenging.