Authorities in Egypt launch investigation after disappearance of AFCON trophy

CAIRO, EGYPT - APRIL 8: Africa Cup of Nations trophy is seen ahead of the draw for the 2017 CAN qualifiers in Cairo. The CAF announced that Gabon will host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. (Photo by Haikel Hmima/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Africa Cup of Nations trophy. (Photo by Haikel Hmima/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

An original Africa Cup of Nations trophy mysteriously disappeared from the Egyptian FA’s headquarters in the capital Cairo, the association confirmed.

A statement by the EFA also revealed the loss of an unspecified number of other trophies.

“As the Egyptian FA is currently developing the main headquarters, including changing the entrance to a small museum of Egyptian football, the management was shocked by the disappearance of some old trophies from the storeroom,” the statement said.

An investigation into the incident has been launched by the EFA.

“The EFA is now investigating the trophies’ disappearance to determine if those old trophies were saved after the building was burned … or if they were lost when the building was exposed during this incident.”

The EFA’s headquarters were burnt and looted by Ultras groups in 2013, and a former EFA member, Magdi Abdelghani, said that the cup was lost during that incident.

“After the burning of the Football Association headquarters, some cups were lost, and the matter was investigated,” Abdelghani was quoted as saying during a press conference.

Other explanations had been offered from different quarters resulting in wild speculation about the trophy’s whereabouts.

One claimed that former Pharaohs captain Ahmed Hassan, who led Egypt to victory in 2006, 2008 and 2010, had the trophy. Hassan, however, denied that allegation.

Former Pharaohs assistant coach Shawky Gharib was another person who fell afoul of claims to have the trophy.

Egypt, the record winners of the tournament, was awarded the trophy permanently after winning that specific incarnation of a trophy for a third time in 2010.

Should a team win a particular type of the Africa Cup of Nations trophy three times will own it for good, according to CAF rules.

Algeria, the defending champions, is in possession of the current trophy whose design is similar to the one Egypt was given.