Sudan tightens security for play-off

KHARTOUM - Sudan tightened security on Monday with thousands of fans expected to fly in for a play-off between Egypt and Algeria that will settle the last of Africa's qualifying berths for next year's World Cup.

Saturday's qualifier between the teams was preceded by an attack on the Algeria team bus by Egyptian youths in which three players suffered facial cuts. FIFA appealed for calm while the Egyptian FA said Thursday's incident was staged by Algerians.

Egypt won that match in Cairo 2-0 to force Wednesday's decider in neutral Sudan.

Khartoum's governor Abdelrahman al-Khidr said 15,000 police would be out in force on the streets of Sudan's capital and security was tight at the hotels housing the teams.

"We have completed all our preparations and are ready for any emergency," Khidr told reporters.

He said Sudan was expecting 48 planes full of Algerian fans and 18 from Egypt, with 2,000 more Egyptians to arrive by bus. Each team would have 9,000 tickets with 17,000 reserved for Sudanese.

Thousands of Egyptians work in Sudan but Sudanese were overwhelmingly supporting Algeria. Hundreds of Sudanese waved Algerian flags from their cars while Egyptian fast food restaurants sported their flags.

Riot police surrounded Khartoum's football stadiums while the teams trained on Monday night with reporters and fans forbidden entry.