Egypt on high security alert ahead of crucial World Cup qualifier in Alexandria

Egypt is on high security alert ahead of a crucial football match against Congo on Sunday that will decide whether Egypt qualifies for the World Cup tournament in Russia next year, with Egypt seeking its first spot in the competition for three decades.

The traffic department in Alexandria, where the match is to be held, is on high alert, securing the Cairo-Alexandria Road ahead of the arrival of fans, according to Al-Ahram newspaper. The match be held at Alexandria’s Borg Al-Arab stadium at 7 pm.

The extra security efforts follow an order by Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar to finalize all security preparations related to the game.

The stadium’s doors are expected to be open from 11 am and will close at 6 pm, or when the capacity of 65,000 spectators has been reached. According to a security source, no spectator will be allowed entry without a proper ticket.

He added that bomb-detection experts have began combing the stadium and surrounding areas, stressing that the combing process will continue until the final whistle.

Several checkpoints have also been established in the area, with Central Security Forces personnel being deployed in the surrounding areas.

The security source warned that fans will not be allowed to bring fireworks, mineral-water bottles or soft-drink cans into the stadium.

He called on fans to abide by the security rules.

The Egyptian team are firm favourites to beat a Congo side that have only gained one point in four matches, from a surprise draw away to Ghana.

Egypt are currently top of Group E on nine points, one ahead of second-place Uganda and three clear of third-placed Ghana.

A win for Egypt over Congo on Sunday would take the Pharaohs directly to the World Cup for the first time since 1990, without needing a result from their last game against Ghana away from home.

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