The Cairo International Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium located in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. It is the second largest stadium in Egypt behind Borg El Arab Stadium and has a capacity of 75,000.
Before it’s conversion into an all-seater stadium, it had a capacity of over 100,000 spectators. But there have been instances of the stadium holding more people than it was intended to, as the football loving fans squeezed together and even sat on the aisles. During the 1986 African Cup of Nations final, more than 120,000 fans were present at the stadium.
The Cairo Stadium is a distinct symbol of Egyptian football. It hosts the matches of the Egyptian national football team and all of the important matches in the domestic cups.
It is also sporadically used by the local clubs of Zamalek and Al Ahly, although they mostly play at their home stadiums. The Cairo stadium has a tremendous atmosphere, and the local derby between the two local teams record attendances of over 100,000.
The Cairo International Stadium was built between 1955 and 1960. It was opened on 23rd July 1960 and was inaugurated by the then President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser.
The stadium underwent an intensive refurbishment program ahead of the 2006 African Cup of Nations, which was held in Egypt. The renovations brought the Cairo International Stadium on par with other contemporary stadiums of the 21st Century.
Many new facilities were added to the stadium, making it a complete Olympic standard, multi-use stadium. However, the capacity was decreased from 85,000 to 75,000 as the stadium was made an all-seater one, to meet the CAF standards.
It hosted the 1986 African Cup of Nations held in Egypt, along with the Alexandria Stadium. It was also the venue for the final between Egypt and a Cameroon side featuring Roger Milla, which Egypt won 5-4 in penalties.
It was the stadium in which Hossam Hassan scored for Egypt against Algeria, to confirm their spot in the 1990 FIFA World Cup held in Italy.
It again hosted the African Cup of Nations in 2006, and was again the venue for the final. The final was played out between Egypt and Ivory Coast, with Egypt again winning on penalties 4-2.
The qualification match between Algeria and Egypt for the 1990 FIFA World Cup was marred by violence, as the Egyptian team doctor lost an eye because of a broken bottle. The Algerian team’s bus was greeted by stones, smashing windows and injuring four people, three of them players.
Matters got so out of hand that Algerian star player Lakhdar Belloumi had an Interpol arrest warrant to his name, despite having done nothing.