Mubarak salutes Egypt on Nations Cup run to final

2010-01-29 11:24

EGYPTIAN President Hosni Mubarak yesterday saluted the national

team for a “remarkable performance” in thrashing regional rivals Algeria 4-0 to

reach the Africa Cup of Nations final, Egyptian TV reported.

The Pharoahs’ rampant showing in the western city of Benguela,

Angola, prompted fans in Cairo to rush out into the streets of the capital to

celebrate as klaxons blared into the night.

The win came as sweet revenge for Egypt’s elimination by Algeria in

the World Cup qualifiers last November.

“Thanks be to God, we have regained our dignity,” said a resident

of the Mohandessine district of western Cairo.

At Maadi, south of the capital, about 200 people who had packed

into a cafe showing the match on the small screen embarked on frenzied

celebrations after a win which leaves the Pharoahs in line for a third straight

title.

They face Ghana, who outplayed Nigeria 1-0 in the other semifinal,

in Sunday’s final.

“The Egyptians were really very good. The Algerians could not do

better than zero,” said Ahmad, a local trader.

The Algerian embassy in Cairo, the scene of violent demonstrations

after last year’s stormy World Cup saga, reinforced security yesterday with the

building ringed by the police in the city’s Zamalek area.

When Egypt and Algeria met in Cairo in a World Cup qualifier in

November, the Algerian team bus was attacked as it made its way from the airport

to the team hotel. Three players were injured.

After the match, a bus carrying Algerian fans was attacked with

stones while Egyptian business interests in Algeria were targeted in response as

relations between the two countries worsened.

Officials had tried to play down passions ahead of yesterday’s

match in Angola.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a football match and we should

not forget the historic ties between Egypt and Algeria, two Arab nations and two

Muslim peoples who have friendly relations,” said foreign minister Ahmed Aboul

Gheit.


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