2018 World Cup 50,000 fans to support Egypt against Ghana

This is a major development following the tragic events of Port Said, reports Fiifi Anaman

  • Published:
Egypt fans play Egypt's notorious fan culture has been subdued since the Port Said incident.
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The Egyptian Football Association has given the green light for as many as 50,000 fans to attend next month's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Ghana in Alexandria.

This will be the biggest crowd seen at a game in the country in four years. Football authorities in the North African nation have been strictly restricting spectator numbers in stadiums since the infamous Port Said disaster in February 2012.

This tragic event saw the loss of 74 lives after violence broke out during fixture between Egyptian giants Al Ahly and El Masry. Fans of El Masry, following a 3-1 victory, stormed the pitch and stands of the Port Said Stadium with stones, knives and many other deadly weapons to attack the players and fans of Ahly, eventually resulting in the death of 72 Ahly fans, one police officer and one El Masry fan. Over 500 people were left with serious injuries in what later became one of the most high profile disasters in football history. The Egyptian League was consequently shut down for close to two years.

The game against Ghana will see the Pharoahs of Egypt play at home at the enormous Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria. The stadium, opened in 2007, will be ready to host the huge volume of fans expected: it's 86.000 all-seater capacity makes it the second biggest stadium in Africa as well as the 27th biggest worldwide.

 

Borg El Arab Stadium play The Borg El Arab stadium in Alexandria is Africa's second largest stadium after South Africa's FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

The Match Day Two fixture, slated for Sunday November 13, will see Hector Cuper's men hoping to strengthen their two-point lead on top of Group E, following an impressive away 2-1 away win in Congo Brazzaville on the opening day.

READ ALSO: Black Stars winger eyes goal in front of fans at St. James Park

The record seven-time champions of Africa were infamously denied a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by none other than the Black Stars of Ghana, losing 7-3 over two legs in the final round of qualifying in 2013.

Avram Grant's Ghana head to Alexandria under a lot of pressure to recover from an early set-back. They put up what many considered an appalling display at home against Uganda on opening day, firing blanks in a 0-0 draw.

The Pharoahs go into the tie the stronger of the two sides, not only based on current form but also on the statistics: they have won six of their last 10 meetings with the Black Stars, including the very recent fixture, a 2-1 win in Cairo in the second leg of that 2014 World Cup qualifying final knock-out round.

The winner of the Group will qualify alongside four other Group winners for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Football Association has also cleared 40,000 fans to attend this Saturday's CAF Champions League final second leg between home side Zamalek and South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns in Cairo.

Zamalek will hope the huge crowd inspires them to overcome the daunting odds of overturning a 3-0 first leg loss in Pretoria last Saturday.

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