Congo Spoils Show For Equatorial Guinea, As Nations Cup Begins
FORMER West Brom striker, Thievy Bifouma, was the saving grace for Congo, as his 87th minutes strike rescued a point for his country against the host, Equatorial Guinea, in the opening game of the 30th African Nations Cup yesterday.
Fans of the host country were already preparing for an all-night party, after the team held on to Nsue Lopez’s 16th minutes goal, only for Bifouma to spoil their day with three minutes to regulation time.
Before the kick off, Equatorial Guinea staged a short, but impressive ceremony inside a packed 35,000-capacity Estadio de Bata to open the championship.
The oil-rich central African country was a late replacement to host the Nations Cup after Morocco pulled out over fears of the Ebola Virus Disease, which has ravaged west Africa killing over 7,000 in the past one year.
The stadium, built by the Chinese in 2007, was an impressive sea of bright red as thousands of passionate fans danced and sang along with some of the country’s top musical acts like the local Akon.
There were also entertaining and energetic cultural displays showcasing the country’s rich heritage and history.
“We will rise again, Africa! We will rise!!” went one of the choruses of the songs.
The opening ceremony was watched by Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who must have been a proud man that his people could put up such a grand display at very short notice.
The 30th Africa Cup of Nations will run till February 8, when the new champions of Africa will be crowned at the same smart stadium in Bata.