The highly anticipated 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) commenced with a dazzling opening ceremony at the Ebimpé Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Saturday, celebrating Africa’s rich diversity and culture.
As reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the ceremony unfolded with a vibrant display of traditional Ivorian dances and music, featuring performers adorned in colourful attire and accessories. “It was a vibrant celebration of African diversity,” NAN noted.
The stage came alive with the soulful voices of Dadju and Tayc, representing Congolese and Cameroonian origins, singing in French and English amid African rhythms. The Ivorian coupé-décalé band from Abidjan, featuring young African artists, delivered enchanting performances, captivating the audience.
Renowned artists like the Franco-Ivorian group Magic System, Nigerian sensation Yemi Alade, and Egyptian rapper Mohamed Ramadan added to the spectacle by singing the infectious rhythm of the AFCON 2023 anthem, “Akwaba.”
The 24-nation tournament, set to unfold in six stadiums across five cities, promises a month-long celebration of African football, culminating in the final on Feb. 11.
In a thrilling turn of events, hosts Cote d’Ivoire secured a 2-0 victory against Guinea-Bissau in the opening match of AFCON 2023 on the same day. The match played at the 60,000-capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium displayed the prowess of the Ivorian squad.
NAN reported that Cote D’Ivoire now temporarily tops Group A, a challenging pool that includes Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, who are set to face off on Sunday. “With the win, Cote d’Ivoire makes an early statement in the tournament,” NAN emphasised.
In a highly entertaining curtain-raiser, Côte d’Ivoire dominated from the start, opening the scoring in the fourth minute through Seko Fofana. Jean-Philippe Krasso further solidified their lead with a goal in the 58th minute, showcasing a strong performance against their less-favoured opponent.
The host country’s next challenge awaits them on January 18, as they prepare to face Nigeria in what promises to be a fiercely contested match.