SHOWS: CAIRO, EGYPT (JULY 18, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) CONFEDERATION OF AFRICAN FOOTBALL HEAD, AHMAD AHMAD, SAYING: "That's why we say that African soccer is underestimated.
Because today we can say that we can go further than that, but whatever happens, since the numbers that Lagardere gave me, there has been a lot of improvement compared to the previous CANs (Africa Cup of Nations) including 2013.
The turnover in South Africa was $49 million dollars in 2015; $52 million dollars in 2017 in Gabon; and now $83 million dollars here [in Egypt]." STORY: Egypt's revenue from the Africa Cup so far has reached $83 million dollars according to Confederation of African Football (CAF) chief, Ahmad Ahmad.
Speaking at a news conference following CAF's congress in Cairo on Thursday (July 18), Ahmad said the revenue for this tournament edition has exceeded the one held in South Africa in 2015 and Gabon in 2017.
Troubled by chaos behind the scenes, played in baking heat against a backdrop of empty stadiums, the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has still managed to serve up some entertainment and drama in its expanded 24-team group stage.
World class players such as Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez have shared the stage with the likes of Jean Romario Baggio Rakotoarisoa, who plays in Madagascar's ramshackle league, and Selemani Ndikumana, who lived through the long civil war which ravaged Burundi until 2005.
The venue, timing and size of the tournament have all changed since the draw for the qualifying competition was made in January 2017.
Originally scheduled to be staged by Cameroon in January with 16 teams, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) had since increased the tournament to 24 teams, moved it to June-July and stripped Cameroon of the hosting rights due to slow preparations and security concerns.