An African Cup of Nations trophy, which Egypt kept permanently after winning the title for three times in a row, has mysteriously disappeared from the country’s football union premises in Cairo, sources have said.
The disappearance of the silverware was discovered when the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) set into motion a plan to set up a museum to house different trophies claimed by the national team, they added.
The EFA admitted in a statement that a number of trophies and commemorative shields have disappeared from its storeroom and said it opened an inquiry into the incident.
The union did not say explicitly if the Africa Cup of Nations trophy was among the missing items, but several football sources confirmed it has been missing since Thursday.
Speculation is rife that the trophies were lost in the wake of a 2013 by hard-core fans known as Ultras on the headquarters of the association.
“An investigation is under way to know about the fate of those old trophies and whether they survived the 2013 fire and looting by the Ultra groups, or were among losses in that incident,” EFA added.
Initially, claims went round that the Africa Cup of Nations trophy was being kept by ex-footballer Ahmed Hassan, who captained Egypt’s national team that won the tournament for three straight times. But Hassan soon denied the claims.
“I hoped I had kept it in my house instead of its loss,” he said in media remarks. “It is strange I am asked about the trophy more than nine years of getting it,” he added.
Egypt retained the trophy for good after the Pharaohs won the continental competition in 2010 for the third time in a row. The Pharaohs have won the Africa Cup of Nations for record seven times.