What initially looked like a big joke has now been confirmed, as the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy retained by Egypt permanently after the North African country won three titles in a row has been declared ‘lost’.
Though initial reports were pointing towards theft, official explanations claim the coveted silverware was lost in an inferno that ravaged the Egyptian Football Association Headquarters in 2013.
According to a report by Goal, ex-Egyptian Football Association vice-president Ahmed Shobeir, explained it was during preparations to build a museum to house all of the silverware won by the North African nation that AFCON trophy was discovered missing.
“Officials of the committee which meets every five years and currently manages the Football Association were surprised that the trophy was not available, in light of their desire to create a museum at the federation headquarters, which would feature the trophy and the national team’s kits,” Shobeir reportedly said on the ‘On Time Sports’ TV show.
“However, [they] were surprised to find that the Afcon trophy was lost, and decided to open an investigation.”
On his part, ex-Egypt midfielder, Magdi Abdelghani, also clarified in a press conference that the trophy was lost in a fire seven years ago.
“After the burning of the Football Association headquarters, some cups were lost, and the matter was investigated,” the former FA member said, “including the Africa Cup of Nations that we retained.”
“Some said that the cup had been with Shawky Gharib, the former general coach of the Egypt national team, and some say it had been with Hassan, the former captain of the Pharaohs.”
Though they disappointed many with their early exit when they hosted last year, Egypt is the most successful country in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations, having won the trophy seven times since 1957.
Apart from the most titles, consecutive triumphs between 2006 and 2010 is an unprecedented feat in the history of the African game.