CAIRO: The Egyptian Football Association has dismissed a mere formality a letter from world federation FIFA letter asking for security guarantees ahead of the World Cup playoff return against Ghana next month writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The Ghanaians had complained to FIFA that their players were afraid to go to Egypt after the riots which have left hundreds of people dead over the last three months following the army coup against President Morsi.

FIFA has given Egypt until October 28 to provide “comprehensive security assurances” for the tie which is due to be staged at the army-owned Air Defence Stadium in Cairo on November 19. The first leg is in Kumasi, Ghana, on Tuesday.

Secretary-general Jerome Valcke told both federations: “Although all our hopes and wishes sincerely expect that the security situation will go back to normal in a definite manner we would need to consider alternatives in the event that this were not the case in November.”

However an EFA spokesman, Azmy Megahed, said: “This letter is a routine procedure. A FIFA inspection team has already granted us its approval to stage the game at the Air Defence Stadium. The EFA will contact Egyptian authorities to get the necessary security assurances.”

Five play-offs will decide Africa’s representatives at the World Cup finals in Brazil. At the weekend, in the initial first leg ties, Ivory Coast beat Senegal 3-1 and Burkina Faso defeated Algeria 3-2.

Today Ethiopia are hosting Nigeria and Tunisia are facing Cameroon.