AFCON Africa Sports

#AFCON2019; Why the stadiums are almost empty in Egypt

For the first time in the modern era, the Africa Cup of Nations has been played in the mid-year, unlike previous editions that were played at the start of the year, in January to be more specific.

We looked forward to the 32nd edition of the continent’s biggest football showpiece after 8 teams were added to the participants to make it 24.

However, the 2019 AFCON has registered a low fan turn inside stadiums in Egypt especially after last week’s kick off that the hosts won by 1-0 against Zimbabwe in Group A.

The reason for the low turn-up has been attributed to Fan IDs that are being used for the first time the Africa Cup. The innovation was introduced by world football governing body FIFA at last year’s World Cup in Russia, but this has kept out plenty of local fans from accessing matches because of the permutations set-up by this requirement.

“It is the reason you see the stands empty,” an Egyptian that preferred anonymity told a local newspaper the Daily Monitor.

“There are too many restrictions around the ID and many would prefer to come only for Egypt’s matches but the empty stands are showing a bad image,” he added.

“It is likely that later in the tournament, the restrictions may be dropped to allow fans come in for the matches,” he added.

An AFCON Fan ID tag is a requirement by gate officials and match stewards to access any stadium for a match. The IDs, introduced for security reasons, are created by registering via

Photo credit: Nicholas Bamulanzeki

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