The cool afternoon breeze from the Mediterranean waves gush through the coastal city of Alexandria, sending a calming effect on the entire city under the sweltering summer heat in Egypt.
And just as the cool wind sends a calming and relaxing wave across the streets, so has the news that the city will host Group B matches and two round of 16 games of the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019.
Alexandria will have its first ever major tournament since 2009 when it hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Excitement is already building up with fans waiting with bated breath when the 20,000-seater Alexandria Stadium, the oldest in Egypt will host its first match on Saturday.
“It is such an honour for us to host these matches here because here we love football. For sure we will be at the stadium to watch. We wish Egypt was playing here but even still we will go to watch the other teams,” Amr Maher, a barber within Alexandria says.
Across all social gatherings, the talk is all about the AFCON. Fans are already aligning themselves on who to support, with most swaying their weight behind the Nigerians.
Nigeria, very good team.... I remember JJ Okocha, Kanu... good players. I will be supporting them
Guinea will be based in Alexandria
Already, businessmen on the streets have started selling fan paraphernalia, vuvuzelas and flags being hawked few days just two days before the first game. At the stadium, fans are already inquiring about ticketing as they wait with bated breath fr the first whistle to be blown.
“I just want to have my ticket early so that I don’t miss it on match day. I can’t wait to go the stadium and watch football. Of course we will be supporting Egypt whenever they play and watching on television, but we will also come here and watch live,” Mohamed Sabry, a fan who was inquiring for tickets at the stadium stated.
Nigeria, Madagascar, Guinea and Burundi will play their matches here in Alexandria.