Display Of Fireworks Lowers Curtain On Ghana 2008
A display of fireworks submerged the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra in little stars as organisers lowered the curtain on the 26th MTN Africa Cup of Nations last night.The closing ceremony of Africa's flagship sports festival then received the applause of the largely enthusiastic Ghanaian spectators who had fillied the stadium to watch Egypt's 1-0 triumph over Cameroun in what turned out to be a fitting finale to the three-week tournament which ended with the symbolic handing over of the Nations Cup flag from the Ghanaian organisers to their Angolan counterparts who will host the next edition in 2010.
But the event, graced by President J.A. Kufuor, his vice, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter and CAF President Alhaji Issa Hayatou, showcased Ghana's brand of tradition and culture that had the triumphant Egyptian players dancing in celebration.
First, a 10-year-old girl dressed in Ghanaian kente cloth and riding in a Kente-draped palanquin on the shoulders of four strong, bow-wielding men, appeared with the tournament trophy. She presented the trophy to the organisers as she was lowered onto her feet and gracefully waved at the cheering crowd.
Then came 16 ladies clad in the colours of the 16 countries that participated in the tournament and guided in the front and at the rear by guards who portrayed the proverbial African warrior.
All that while, the 'fontonfrom' drums provided traditional rhythm to the unfolding cultural display, and when President Kufuor, Blatter, Hayatou, and the Chairman of the Ghana 2008 Local Organising Committee, Dr Kofi Amoah, were ushered towards the podium for the presentation ceremony, the cheers grew louder.
The officials for the match, the Camerounian team and then the Egyptian side took turns to receive their medals and the ultimate trophy, and when the glittering stars were let loose into the atmosphere, the triumphant Pharaohs of Egypt literally swam in it as they began what would be a long night's celebration.
Story by Michael Quaye