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HomeNewsREPORTING. Football: Ivory Coast hosts CAN 2024, and aims to make it...

REPORTING. Football: Ivory Coast hosts CAN 2024, and aims to make it “the best in history”

It is the “CAN of the century”, according to its organizers. The African Cup of Nations is taking place for the second time in Ivory Coast. 40 years ago, Yamoussoukro, the capital, only hosted eight teams in a single host city. In the age of football business, the organization of the competition no longer has anything to do with it: more than a billion euros of investment were necessary to accommodate 24 teams, in six host cities. The main roads have been rehabilitated, three stadiums have been built and three others have been completely renovated. 1.5 million people are expected in Abidjan for the biggest African football festival.

For rapper Didi B., who participated with the cream of Ivorian pop artists in an event at the Palais de la Culture in Abidjan to launch the festivities, “It’s the CAN for artists too, because we can’t do an event in Ivory Coast without artists, especially artists from West Africa. So we feel concerned. We’re going to do the best we can, we will give joy to the public and then of course, we will go and watch the matches together”.

The CAN organizing committee called on them to honor the 20,000 volunteers who will run the fan zone and accompany visitors to the stadiums. “We feel that the motivation of young people to participate in all this, really, it is a commitment for the whole nationcontinues Didi B. My friends and acquaintances as well as the authorities of this country are very committed to this beautiful celebration.”

The whole country is mobilized to make this event “the best CAN in history” as the organizers repeat in unison. The president himself, during his wishes to the nation, called on every Ivorian to mobilize.

“Every Ivorian and every inhabitant of our beautiful country must consider themselves an ambassador of the CAN.”

Alassane Ouattara, Ivorian president

during his New Year’s greetings

In a school in Bingerville, near Abidjan, students wrote a collection of poems intended to support the national team, nicknamed “the Elephants”, but also to give a warm welcome to visitors. “I wrote the poem called ‘You are Elephants’, confides a student. ‘It’s time, the third is on the way, the road to hope, the hope of the people. The people in orange [couleur du drapeau et du maillot ivoiriens]’”he recites.

Skeptics advance the risks: gigantic traffic jams in the economic capital, Abidjan, or worse, a deadly stampede at the entrance to a stadium, as in Cameroon, in 2022. But for a week the authorities have been reassuring: the stadiums are ready , all measures have been taken to ensure the smooth running of the event. Tourists are already flocking to Abidjan, like these Cameroonian artists who promise to recover the Cup.

Drone ballet, and concerts by Dadju and Tayc are planned for the Ivory Coast-Guinea Bissau opening match which will be played on Saturday, to a sold-out crowd, in front of 60,000 people including 25 heads of state.