File- AFCON opening ceremony Kicks off
CAIRO – 21 June 2019: The opening ceremony of 2019 African Nations Championship (AFCON) kicked off on Friday, June 21, in Cairo International Stadium.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi who arrived earlier at the Stadium, gave green light for the championship, welcoming the African football teams and fans in their second home, Egypt
Attending the ceremony, the Swiss president of Confederation of the International Football Association "FIFA" Gianni Infantino , and partner of the event Ahmad Ahmad, President of the CAF, as well as Dr. Mostafa Madbouli, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Championship and Dr. Ashraf Subhi, Minister of Youth.
Famed Egyptian folk singer Hakim is singing in the opening ceremony. He uploaded a video on his official Instagram commenting: “Wait for me on Friday in the opening ceremony of the AFCON. We will make an astounding opening celebration; the whole world will be speaking about it.”
The opening ceremony would last 17 minutes unlike opening ceremonies of other championships, which normally last between 12 and 15 minutes.
The first match will kick off shortly after, as host, Egypt will face Zimbabwe.
The AFCON matches will take place at stadiums in Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia, and Suez Canal governorate, starting on Friday until July 19. Two hospitals in every governorate were allocated for receiving possible injured or ill fans as 30 percent of the hospital beds were allocated for emergency cases.
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.
The tournament was increased from 16 to 24 teams, in a similar format to Euro 2016, Egypt is hosting this tournament for a 5th time. The Pharaohs are the most successful team in the tournament's history, winning seven times.