Ambiana Samira and her sisters spent hours searching for tickets to the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations in the Cameroonian capital, as the growing excitement as the continental competition approached meant that many sellers were exhausted.
The three women applauded when they finally secured tickets at a kiosk on the outskirts of Yaoundé on Friday, guaranteeing them seats for Sunday’s clash between Burkina Faso and Cameroon for the first time.
“Since this morning we have been to all the pits,” said the 21-year-old student with relief, clutching her ticket in her hand. Cameroon have had an anxious preparation for the tournament with concerns over incomplete construction, security concerns in some areas and the threat of coronavirus outbreaks as large numbers of players and staff descend into the city. the underfunded country.
All spectators will need to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter stadiums – an incentive for some football fans, including Samira and her family, to get vaccinated in recent days.
The flag-covered streets of Yaoundé were buzzing with excitement on the Friday before kick-off, as an open-top bus circled the center with Cameroonian supporters dancing and humming vuvuzelas.
“We are very proud to have organized this, you see that we are in the streets to beautify the streets and the city,” said Ambassa Maurice, who was fixing the flags of the 24 participating teams to the lampposts.
Traditionally one of Africa’s strongest footballing nations, Cameroon is this time seen as an away bet for a title it has won five times, most recently in 2017.
In the brand new Olembe stadium with a capacity of 60,000 seats in Yaoundé, workers carried out checks before Sunday’s match.
“We are very happy to welcome so many foreigners to our country, to have gems like our stadium here,” said security guard Josue Sefty. “We are happy to host this event, it’s a great thing for us.