It’s a story that ranks among the strangest in sports, so unbelievable that it has caused serious embarrassment to the champions and may yet spark an international incident.
Egyptian soccer authorities are investigating the disappearance of several trophies, including the Africa Cup of Nations trophy the Pharaohs were awarded in 2010 after winning the tournament three times in a row.
The revelation of the trophies’ disappearance last week by a former board member of Egypt’s soccer association, Ahmed Shobir, sparked outrage in the soccer-mad nation.
Magdi Abdel-Ghani, another former board member, initially claimed the trophy was with a former soccer captain or former coach, but later suggested it was lost in an attack on the federation’s headquarters by hard-core fans in 2013.
The Egyptian Football Association said it was “shocked” to find that the trophies were missing during the process of setting up a small museum at the entrance of its Cairo headquarters. The Youth and Sports Ministry has also launched an investigation.
The federation said the trophies may have gone missing during the 2013 attack. Hard-core fans known as “ultras” torched the federation’s headquarters that year as they protested court verdicts related to a soccer riot in 2012 in which more than 70 fans were killed.
The Confederation of African Football said it was shocked by the loss of the trophies and offered its support in “the search for the priceless memorabilia.”