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Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 15:14 UK

Egypt suffer Confed Cup theft

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Johannesburg

Italy"s Fabio Quagliarella, right, and Egypt"s Sayed Moawad
The Egyptian players were robbed as they beat world champions Italy

South Africa's World Cup dry run has been hit by a theft at the Egyptian team hotel in Johannesburg.

Local police are investigating the theft of some US$2,400 from the rooms of five unnamed players.

The cash was taken while the Pharaohs were beating World Cup winners Italy 1-0 on Thursday in a Confederations Cup group match.

The Egyptian delegation had been staying at Johannesburg's Protea Wanderers Hotel.

"Five players have reported a case of theft, with the total sums lost amounting to US$2,400," Thembi Nkhwashu, a spokesperson for the Gauteng South African Police Services, told BBC Sport.

"The period when the money could have disappeared is from the time they left the hotel for the match until this morning when we were notified."

Nkwashu refused to be drawn on whether the matter could have been an internal problem, but did say that the players had lacked responsibility in looking after their money.

Mahmoud Taher
There was some negligence on the players' part, leaving the money in drawers

Mahmoud Taher, Egypt head of delegation

"All the players had a safe in their rooms and were given information on how to operate those services, but for one reason or other they did not follow the instructions," she added.

The theft will come as a blow to South African organisers, who are staging the eight-team Confederations Cup as a test event ahead of Africa's first World Cup next year.

Meanwhile, the Egyptians, who South Africa beat for the right to host the 2010 World Cup, are refusing to blame their hosts, saying such an incident could happen anywhere.

"Our stay in South Africa has been great and everyone has been very hospitable, so this is a very unfortunate event," Mahmoud Taher, the head of Egypt's delegation, told BBC Sport.

"There was some negligence on the players' part, leaving the money in drawers, and they'll be getting firm instructions for next time."

"It's not an issue which we want to create too many problems over but the Local Organising Committee has been informed."

Ahmed Fathi, who played at right-back on Tuesday as the Pharaohs stunned the world champions, said the theft was disappointing.

"Everyone is sad about losing the money, as this is not a good thing, but there's not much we can do about it," the former Sheffield United player explained.

Meanwhile, football's world governing body Fifa has refused to comment, saying further details are needed first.

Egypt play their final Group B game in Rustenburg on Sunday, with the African champions still in with a chance of reaching the semi-finals as they face the United States.

The Confederations Cup ends in Johannesburg on Sunday 28 June.

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see also
Egypt 1-0 Italy
18 Jun 09 |  Internationals
What is the Confederations Cup?
12 Jun 09 |  Internationals

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