The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy has reportedly been stolen from the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) headquarters in Cairo.
The EFA confirmed in a statement on Friday that the trophy which the Pharaohs retained permanently after winning three consecutive AFCON titles — in 2006, 2008 and 2010 respectively — is missing.
Former EFA vice-president, Ahmed Shobier claims that the trophy was discovered missing during preparations to build a museum to house all of the silverware won by the North African nation.
“The EFA started looking for some trophies as they aim to put them in a notable museum inside the EFA,” Shobier said.
“However, the EFA was surprised to find that the AFCON trophy was lost and decided to open an investigation.
“They were informed by an employee inside the association that it was held by former Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan who refuted this claim. Nobody knows where is the trophy at the time being.”
Meanwhile, the EFA has issued an official statement claiming that the most coveted title in African football has also mysteriously disappeared. It said it had opened an investigation into the loss of various trophies.
“As the Egyptian Football Association plans to develop its headquarters, including converting the entrance into a small museum for Egyptian football, the federation’s management was surprised that there were a number of lost trophies in the federation’s storeroom,” the statement read.
“These trophies were supposed to be used in the development process. An investigation is underway to verify whether these old trophies survived the fire and looting of the EFA’s headquarters in 2013 when they were attacked by Ultras groups, or if they were among the losses that resulted from the damage inflicted on the building in this incident.”
Confederation of African Football (Caf) regulations state that a team that wins a particular incarnation of the Africa Cup of Nations trophy three times can keep it.
Under Caf rules, teams that win the Nations Cup receive a replica of the trophy on a permanent basis while they are allowed to keep the trophy for the two years in-between tournaments before handing it back.
The current trophy, whose style is still the same as the one won by Egypt, is in the hands of Algeria, who won the last Nations Cup title (in Cairo) last year (2019).