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Egypt reject CAF invite to play in Morocco at reorganised 2018 CHAN finals

October 25 – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) says it has yet to receive any official notification confirming Egypt’s withdrawal from the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Earlier this week, Egyptian officials said they were pulling out of the tournament for African players based in their domestic leagues because of a timing clash.

“We sent an official reply to CAF that we will not be able to play CHAN,” said Egypt FA (EFA) executive director Tharwat Sweilam. “We cannot stop the (Egyptian) Premier League, especially as the tournament is being played outside the FIFA international calendar.”

But CAF says it has not received any correspondence from the EFA ahead of January’s finals. “Nothing official (has been) received from the EFA in that regard,” a CAF spokeperson told the BBC.

Egypt’s withdrawal would represent another blow to a tournament that has been plagued by organisational issues, not least stripping Kenya of hosting rights and handing them to Morocco who qualify automatically.  As a result, Morocco’s original place was given to Egypt who were knocked out by the Moroccans in August, but CAF will now have to select yet another country to complete the 16-strong representation.

Egypt has never played in CHAN, whose fifth edition is scheduled to take place in four Moroccan cities – Agadir, Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangier – from 12 January to 4 February 2018. By contrast, Egypt is the continent’s most successful country having won a record seven Africa Cup of Nations titles.

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