A man is seen at a stall selling flags in Attaba marketplace district before Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cairo, Egypt, June 20, 2019. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
by Mahmoud Fouly
CAIRO, June 20 (Xinhua) -- An Egyptian young man was bargaining with a retailer of a stall selling flags in Egypt's crowded Attaba marketplace district in the capital Cairo to buy some flags to sell outside the stadiums during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
"I thought of coming to the flag stall and buy some flags, flag-colored caps and plastic horns to sell during the AFCON and make some money," Ahmed Mostafa, 25, told Xinhua outside the flag shop.
Flags of the 24 participant African states have been fluttering on top of the stall that also sells caps, plastic horns, sports T-shirts and other things for supporters to back their teams during the tournament.
There were two Ugandan young men and a young woman approaching the stall to buy flags of their country for supporting their teams in Africa's biggest continental football competition, which Egypt hosts for the fifth time of its history.
The tournament will start on Friday with the opening match between the national teams of Egypt and Zimbabwe, and will continue until July 19.
"I am a football fan, and my team will play against Congo on Saturday. So I want to buy a flag of Uganda, a T-shirt and maybe a vuvuzela (plastic horn) that I can use to be able to support my team," Ugandan young man Tugoma Shafiq told Xinhua.
Sorelle, a young woman from Cameroon, said she will attend the matches and support her team.
"I am going to attend some of the matches and of course I will buy a flag if I see a vendor around the stadium," she added.
Flag salesmen say most of their sales are made to vendors who will sell them in such sports events and make some money.
They also hope that the Egyptian national football team will pass through the group of stage as it would positively affect their sales.
"The flags of Egypt are sold the most. We have stock of flags of other participant African states too and we're optimistic about the business during this event," said Nassef al-Arabi, owner of the flag stall in Attaba.
Flag stalls in Cairo are not only frequently visited by vendors and football fans but also by customers who would like to hang flags outside their hotels, businesses, offices or stores during the event.
"I came here to buy a line of the 24 African flags to use for decoration in our cafe to attract customers who want to watch AFCON matches on TV," said Ayman Ahmed, who works for a cafe in Maadi district in southern Cairo.
"This is a season for us," the man told Xinhua, expecting his cafe to attract a lot of customers during the tournament.
On the second floor in a building in downtown Cairo, there lies a big company for making and selling flags.
"The sales are so good so far. Many customers make special orders to buy flags of Egypt and the other 23 participant African countries. We expect more sales by the advance of the Egyptian team to higher stages in the AFCON," Shadi Ashraf Abdullah, a manager and son of the business owner, told Xinhua.
"Recently, most of our customers are flag selling stores, wholesalers, retailers, football fans and sometimes companies that want to add their logos to the flags of Egypt for publicity," the flag-maker said.