CAIRO, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese companies operating in Egypt can be the main sponsors of the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be held in Egypt in June, said Mohammed Fadl, the manager of Egypt's AFCON organizing committee.
"China is very important because it has many big companies in Egypt," Fadl, a former footballer with Egypt's renowned Ahly Club, told Xinhua.
In January, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced that Egypt will host Africa's largest continental football tournament for the fifth time in its history.
The tournament was initially scheduled to be hosted by Cameroon. However, Cameroon was stripped of the right to host the tournament for serious delay in preparations.
Fadl said the presence of the Chinese companies in Egypt is a great opportunity for Egypt and Africa and the championship as partnership contracts could be signed to sponsor the tournament.
"It is also a window for these companies to invest in sports in Egypt in particular, and Africa in general," he added.
The official pointed out that the Chinese companies have become more interested in sports investment and sponsorship, especially in the field of football, noting that "this is clear as there are large Chinese companies that sponsor clubs in world famous tournaments, including the Egyptian league."
Fadl added that the participation of Chinese companies in the sponsorship of the tournament will contribute significantly to the success of the championship.
"These companies are large and global. In addition, the participation of these companies will create some kind of competition with other international companies to market their brands through this large sports platform," he explained.
According to Egyptian government, about 1,080 Chinese companies are operating in Egypt in various sectors, notably industry, information technology and economic zones.
In a previous interview with Xinhua, Li Ying, vice president of the greater China region for Lagardere Sports and Entertainment Group, said Chinese companies can play a key role in African football-related projects.
Li, who was recently in Cairo to promote sponsorship opportunities for Chinese brands and companies working in Egypt during the upcoming 2019 AFCON, said her company's task is to promote and make connections, allowing the field of football and other cultural sectors from Africa to witness the strength of Chinese companies in this respect.
She voiced confidence that through cooperation in AFCON, more Chinese companies will eye the possibility of the endless potential of football market in Africa.
Meanwhile, Fadl said the 2019 AFCON will be different, as Russia's organization of the World Cup has posed a competition.
"I do not claim that we will organize the tournament like Russia, because we do not really have the time and the great potentials Russia has, but we have the determination and desire to organize a high-level tournament," Fadl said.
The Egyptian official added that the government offers all the possibilities to ensure high-level organization.
"The government provides very strong infrastructure and high-level stadiums, hotels, hospitals and airports. Egypt is one of the largest countries in Africa and we should show this to the whole world through football," he noted.
Fadl said he works closely with CAF, adding that "there are regular meetings and we work together as a team and this will help us a lot in making the tournament a success."