With barely six months to organise the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Egypt defied all odds and staged a dazzling opening ceremony to set the tone for the footballing party, that got the entire continent singing praises for the North African country.
Femi Kuti of Nigeria, Dobet Gnahoré of Ivory and Hakim of Egypt were the headline acts for Friday night’s opening jamboree with fireworks, and pharaonic costumes among other unique exhibition of African culture at the Cairo International Stadium in a ceremony that lasted for 17 minutes.
Kuti, the Afrobeat singer with four Grammy nominations to his name — performed the English version of the tournament’s official song.
He was joined by Grammy-winning Gnahoré with Egypt’s Hakim rounding off the trio of headline acts.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi welcomed all African teams participating in the 2019 African Nations Championship (AFCON) in his inaugurating speech, wishing them good luck.
Mr. Gianni Infantino, President of Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and Mr. Ahmad Ahmad, President of the Confederation of Africa Football, were all in attendance.
The first match kicked off shortly, as host, Egypt locked horns with Zimbabwe with Egypt winning by a lone goal courtesy Mahmoud Hassan 'Trezeguet'.
This year’s edition is considered the biggest Africa Cup of Nations ever with 24 teams. Egypt will stage the competition from June 21 until July 19.