In a surprise announcement from Cairo , Amer Hussain the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) acting president said on Friday in a statement to the daily Al Ahram that Egypt will be playing Iran in a venue in the UAE on 12th October. Egypt was scheduled to play against Brazil on that day , however , financial dispute has resulted in cancellation of that match , although Hussain mentioned that the reason for the cancellation of the Brazil match was the busy schedule of the South American team !
Al Ahram statement mentioned that Egypt will play against Iran on 12 October after their scheduled friendly against Brazil was cancelled, The national team will face Iran on 12 October and Tunisia four days later in the United Arab Emirates,” Amer Hussein told Al-Ahram’s Arabic language sports website.
“The contracts for both games will be signed within two days,” he added.
Egypt will hold a training camp in the UAE next month as they prepare for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
There was no word of confirmation from Tehran on that news. Team Melli are supposed to meet North Korea in preparation for the crucial match against the South Koreans , however , after the loss to Lebanon , it is reported that Carlos Queiroz had cold feet about that match and murmurs of cancellation has been reported in the media.
The Egyptians have unilaterally canceled a match against Team Melli in 2008 due to political reasons. The Iranian Football Federation said that it will complain to football world governing body FIFA over Egypt’s decision to cancel that friendly match because of a controversial film.
“This is a political issue and we will mention to FIFA that the Egyptians are mixing political issues with sports.” the head of Iran’s Football Federation, Ali Kafashian was quoted as saying by the state run television news website.
Iranian coach at the time of the scheduled match , Ali Daei told the ISNA news agency: “Whether we like it or not sport has become intertwined with politics and sport is being used as an instrument in the hands of politicians.”
The Egyptian Football Association said that the match, scheduled for August 20 in the United Arab Emirates, had been cancelled due to tensions over an Iranian film on the assassination of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
The film, entitled “Assassination of a Pharaoh”, says Sadat was killed for signing the 1978 Camp David Accords that led to a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, the first by an Arab country.
“We have decided to cancel the match because of tensions in relations” between Cairo and Tehran following the airing of the documentary on the 1981 assassination, federation president Samir Zaher said.
“We have been in contact with the (Egyptian) foreign ministry during the last 10 days regarding the situation and we finally decided to cancel the match so it did not provoke in one way or another, further tensions,” he said.
Relations between Iran and Egypt have warmed after the fall of Hosny Mubark, with both countries signalling a willingness to restore ties.
The venue mentioned by the Egyptian for the match against Team Mellli is in itself an intriguing one as the United Arab Emirates cancelled a friendly match against the Islamic republic earlier this year in a protest against a visit by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Tomb Bozorg and Tomb Kochik islands in the Persian Gulf claimed by UAE to be their territory.