The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has asked the prime minister to allow 20,000 people to attend the Pharaohs’ upcoming game in Alexandria against Nigeria in the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, Al-Ahram daily reported on Friday.
Nigeria will host the Pharaohs, March 25, in Kaduna before traveling to Egypt to play in Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria four days later.
Egypt’s interior ministry has already given permission for 10,000 supporters to watch the game in the stadium, but the EFA wants to double the numbers to give the Pharaohs the advantage during the game.
EFA executive director Tharwat Sweilam held a meeting with interior ministry officials to discuss the issue but has not yet received approval.
Football matches in Egypt are usually played behind closed doors after an official ban was issued by the Egyptian government following the Port Said Stadium massacre in February 2012. The ban was partially lifted three years later, but was immediately re-imposed after 20 Zamalek fans died in a stampede at Cairo’s Air Defense Stadium in February 2015.
Egypt are leading the African Cup of Nations qualifiers’ Group G with six points, two ahead of second place Nigeria. Only group winners are guaranteed automatic qualification for the 2017 competition.