Egypt’s footballers to wear marks of mourning at Nile basin tournament

Egyptian national football team players will wear mourning signs for the Alexandria bombed church victims during the opening match for a series of friendly games between Nile basin countries.

The Egyptian and Tanzanian teams are scheduled to play on Wednesday.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said it has been decided to cancel the opening ceremony for the tournament, which will be hosted in Egypt from 5 to 17 January, due to a state of mourning for the victims of the church bombed on New Year's Eve.

Egypt, Uganda, Burundi, Sudan, Tanzania and Kenya are expected to participate in the friendly matches.

Winning teams will receive LE1 million, the first runner-up will receive LE800,000, and the third runner-up LE700,000. All other participating teams will get LE500,000.

Zamalek’s Mahmoud Abdel Razek, known as Shikabala, will play in the tournament, although he had previously vowed to boycott national football games following insults by Ahly club fans during a game between the two teams last week. Egyptian newspapers reported that the national team coach Hassan Shehata was able to convince Shikabala to return.

The Egyptian team will play in the first group against Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi.

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