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Egypt Awarded 2006 African Cup of Nations Soccer Finals - 2002-10-27

The African Football Confederation, CAF, has chosen Egypt as the host of the 2006 Nations Cup finals.

In balloting by 11 members of CAF's executive committee October 24, Egypt received seven votes, Libya two votes, and Algeria and Ivory Coast one each. The balloting took place at CAF's new headquarters about 30-kilometers north of the Egyptian capital, Cairo. CAF President Issa Hayatou of Cameroon announced Egypt as the winner.

African football analysts say Egypt's bid was boosted by the unstable political situations in Algeria and Ivory Coast.

This marks a record fourth time that Egypt will stage the biennial African soccer showpiece. It also means the next two African Cup of Nations finals will be staged in north Africa, since Tunisia will be the host in 2004. Mali was the venue for the 2002 Nations Cup.

The 2006 Nations Cup finals in Egypt will be unique, in that the tournament will also serve as Africa's qualifying tournament for the World Cup, to be held later that year in Germany.

The president of the Egyptian Football Federation, Yousef El Dahshoury, says winning the Nations Cup was expected. He says Egypt had the best documents and the best facilities, and any other result would have been a shock. The Egyptian football official says his country now has its sights set on staging the 2010 World Cup.

World football's governing body, FIFA, recently began inviting bids from African countries for hosting football's premier event in 2010.