Carnival Greets Pharaohs’ Victory
Girls wearing the Egyptian flag instead of the veil danced among tens of thousands in the streets of Cairo on Sunday night after their national team won a record-breaking sixth MTN Africa Cup of Nations.Crowds of people wearing the national flag colours of red, black and white erupted with screams of joy as the final whistle blew, some lighting handheld fireworks, others crying tears of relief.
"Finally something joyous happens to us, finally something happy happens to us," said Mohammed Said, sporting an Egyptian flag instead of his traditional galabaya robe.
He was one of thousands who had gathered to watch the match between Egypt and Cameroun on giant television screens on the central Mustafa Mahmud square.
"With the government we have everything is sad, the prices, the boats sink and trains crash. This is the only thing that gives us joy."
Policemen forming part of the heavy security presence on the huge square danced and hugged their countrymen, crying the name of the final's only goalscorer, local Giza native "Mohamed Aboutrika — Goal!"
Aboutrika hit the headlines during the African competition for revealing a T-shirt with "Sympathise with Gaza" emblazoned on it after scoring a goal, and the giant screens relayed live images of crowds of Gazans joining the party.
Any traffic remaining on avenues leading off the main square was locked down by the mass festivities, including carloads of teenagers, some jammed 10 to a vehicle, others lying on the bonnet or roof, waving the Egyptian flag.
"It's one of the rare occasions when there are no Muslims and Copts and we are only Egyptians," said Coptic Christian Adel Zaki. "We feel united and it is the only thing we celebrate together.