Addis Ababa to host Egypt-Ethiopia boxing friendly
By Ibrahim Saleh, Thursday, May 15, 2014
ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian capital will host a friendly boxing match later this month between Ethiopian boxer Sammy Retta and Egyptian boxer Ahmed Saeed with a view to bolstering ties between the two countries.
Egyptian Ambassador in Ethiopia Mohamed Idriss said the friendly had been initially proposed by Saeed with the aim of fostering peace between Egypt and Ethiopia.
"Egyptian-Ethiopian sporting relations are historical, particularly in the field of football," Idriss told Anadolu Agency.
Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa soured last year over Ethiopia's plans to build a multi-million hydroelectric dam on the upper reaches of the Nile River – Egypt's main source of water.
The project raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its traditional share of Nile water.
Addis Ababa, however, insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, which will be invited to purchase electricity thus generated.
Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era water-sharing treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water.
Ethiopia, for its part, says it has never recognized the treaty.
According to Idriss, sports can contribute to strengthening ties between African states, including Egypt and Ethiopia.
Egypt's Saeed is expected to arrive in Addis Ababa four days ahead of the match with Retta, the ambassador said.
He added that embassy staff, boxing fans and representatives of different sectors in Ethiopia would organize a reception for the Egyptian boxer.
Idriss noted that revenue from the match, which will be held at Addis Ababa's Millennium Hall in the presence of a host of African boxers, will go towards development projects in Ethiopia and assistance for South Sudanese refugees in the country.
The match, to be held in the last week of May, will be broadcast live on private Ethiopian television channel DStv.
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