A continental wedding in Ivory Coast begins amid high expectations and various questions

The 2024 Africa Cup of Nations will kick off on Saturday in Ivory Coast, local and continental, and amid various logistical and sporting questions, it will pose many challenges on the path of the host country and the Confederation of African Football. The match kicks off at 9pm (8am GMT) at the Alasane Ouattara Stadium in Ebembe, northwest of Abidjan, with the opening match between one of the title favorites Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau. .

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“Aquapa!” On Saturday, Republic Beach welcomes teams and fans from across the African continent… Continental football marriage In its thirty-fourth edition, it has great ambitions, whether mathematically, politically, or economically.

Former international star and icon Didier Drogba's country is hosting the continental football tournament for the second time since 1984 as it seeks to ensure its existence and stability are broken out of a cycle of divisions and disputes that led to civil war. It has declared its desire to win a third star after being crowned in Senegal in 1992 and Equatorial Guinea in 2015.

Ivory Coast welcomes the African continent At the sound of the word “Akwaba” meaning “hello” in the local language, it set its sights on logistically and mathematically lifting the challenge presented, as the tournament was no longer played with eight teams. case in 1984, but was split into six groups for the title with 24 countries participating. The Cup will be held in five cities (Abidjan, Yamoussoukro, Bouaké, San Pedro and Korogo) and six stadiums, including two in the economic capital, Abidjan, Alassane Ouattara (named after the current president) and Félix Houphoud-Boigny (the country's first president from independence from France in 1960 until his death). ) arenas in 1993.

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Security issue is one of the major challenges

The road looked long and arduous as a heavy storm flooded the grass at Ibimbe Stadium early last September, suspending a friendly between the “Elephants” and Mali, a disastrous scene that fueled the Ivorians' displeasure. Africans fear that preparations for the main continental event will falter. But officials responded that “things are under control” pointing to the unexpected exceptional rainfall.

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While the security issue is a major challenge for the host country, which borders Mali and Burkina Faso, the two neighboring countries face a jihadist movement that threatens the entire sub-Saharan region, organizers noted, citing special sources as raising the issue of public security. Ivory Coast is expected to receive 1.5 million visitors, the most prominent of whom are its neighbors Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Ghana.

Officials said they would open stadiums “very soon”, “queue fans to enter peacefully”, “ask people to come early” and deploy around 17,000 troops. 2,500 spectators plus security personnel to protect the match.

For the Confederation of African Football, the smooth conduct and scale of the tournament will be the biggest challenge Referees' ability to apply the Laws of the Game Football fans around the world rightly and skillfully remember Zambian referee Gani Chikaswe's early announcement of the end of the match between Tunisia and Mali at the 2022 edition in Cameroon, sparking jeers from fans and anger from Tunisians.

A clash between the “Elephants” and Guinea Bissau at the start of the tournament

In Abidjan, the official start will begin with the opening ceremony at seven o'clock (6pm GMT), followed by the clash between the “Elephants” and Guinea-Bissau at nine o'clock (8pm GMT), in the first meeting at the Alasane Ouattara stadium in Ebembe, northwest of Abidjan. Among the West African teams in the Nations Cup.

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Egyptian referee Amin Mohamed Omar, 39, is officiating the match as a video referee alongside his companions Mahmoud Ahmed Kamel and Ahmed Hosam Taha – and Mahmoud Al-Bana.

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Under the watchful eyes of Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure, team-mates Serge Aurier, Sébastien Haller and Frank Gessier will get off to a flying start with victory in front of 60,000 fans, just as their compatriots did when they swept Togo forty years ago. 3-0.

For the “Elephants”, the search for a third title begins, while it is important to restore their reputation after being eliminated in the quarter-finals on penalties in the previous edition in Cameroon, and they lost in 2019. They also went out on penalties at the hands of Algeria in the quarter-finals in Egypt. In the first round in Gabon in 2017.

The ground factor and crowd advantage give the Orange team an advantage against a rival that hasn't won a match in the Guinea-Bissau Continental Championship, although Guinea-Bissau will try to pull off a surprise.

Messianic bonus

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