AFCON 2019: ZIFA unfazed by Egypt weekend roadside bomb

A roadside bomb that detonated next to a bus of tourists near Egypt’s Giza Pyramids on Sunday, injuring 17, has raised concerns about the safety of athletes and fans alike during the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

Zimbabwe insists they are not pressing the panic button yet.

The blast which wounded a number of South Africans who were on the bus has called into question the security around the 24-team tournament that starts on June 21.

The incident is the second in six months after three Vietnamese tourists were killed in a similar attack in December. 

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the latest blast.

Reports have further emerged that leaders of the armed Hasm group were planning “to carry out a series of attacks during the coming period to trigger chaos in the country”.

The statement did not say whether the suspected fighters were connected to Sunday’s attack.

Egypt accuses the Hasm group, which emerged in 2016 and has claimed several attacks, of being a wing of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

“We stand guided by the organisers of the tournament who are headquartered in Egypt.The organisers have not raised alarm yet,” ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said.

However, South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says there is no cause for “panic” and backed Egyptian authorities to host a safe Africa Cup of Nations finals.

“We feel there is no need to panic‚ we have faith in the Egyptian law enforcement agencies to handle the situation and we understand that these types of things do happen,”Dirco spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya told TimesLive on Monday.

“In these situations‚ you should judge a country by its response to the incident and we have complete faith in the Egyptian authorities in this regard.”