Friday, January 20, 2006

THE NATIONS CUP!


Egypt ready for Nations Cup.
By Vera Kwakofi BBC Sport, Cairo.

Dr Viken Djizmedjian says Egypt is ready to host the Nations Cup.The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 25th African Nations Cup says everything is ready for Egypt to host the event that kicks off on Friday. Dr Viken Djizmedjian, who is the planning director for the tournament, told BBC Sport that he is satisfied with how everything is coming together. "The teams have begun arriving, all the facilities and more importantly, the stadiums are ready so I can say yes we are ready," he said. "What is left is just the final decorations for the stadiums and these are very small things compared to all the effort and expenditure that's been done for this tournament so far."
Dr Djizmedjian pointed out that the LOC was under pressure from the local press to put on a good tournament after their failure to win the right to host the 2010 World Cup. "Now this is our time and place to show that Egypt deserves to host the World Cup," he said. "We have the expertise, we have the know-how and we have the capabilities and we're showing this with the Nations Cup." He however acknowledged that getting people to fill the stands was a particular concern for the organisers.
Egypt 2006 venues
"We know that when a team loses a game, people don't go to the stadium and that's why we insisted on started selling the tickets back in August on the internet," he said. "A tournament with empty tribunes is no tournament." The LOC have also drafted in the governors of Port Said and Alexandria, which will be hosting Groups D and C respectively, to put effort into filling the stands in those cities. "We have made a special arrangement for them to bus in people from the schools and factories in the area to fill the seats in those cities," Djizmedjian said. This will be the fourth time Africa's most prestigious football tournament is being held in Egypt, having previously hosted it in 1959, 1974 and 1986.
BBC NEWS REPORT

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