The kick off of the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations was heralded by a spectacular opening ceremony at the Estadio de Bata.
It was an electrifying atmosphere at the 35,000-capacity stadium as the musical and cultural renditions whetted the appetite of the ecstatic crowd and kept them on their toes throughout the session. The dominant colour of the night was red and orange; red for the replica jerseys of the Nzalang Nacional and orange, for the clappers of the title sponsors of the tournament, Orange.
Aniceto Ebiaca Mohete, First Deputy Prime Minister and Honorary President of the Equatorial Guinea Local Organising Committee (COCAN) welcomed the participating teams on behalf of the governments of the two countries.
There were also musical performances from Mbomeche, Besoso and Michael Jackson lookalike dancer Anfibio, who thrilled the crowd with his moon-walking antics.
There was also a display of culture and tradition as the audiovisuals and graphics, that portrayed the history of the previous hosts of the tournament added more colour to the ceremony. Then came a choir group dressed in blue robes who sang the national anthem of Equatorial Guinea in acapela style.
Minutes later, the lights were put off the fans lightened the stadium with their miniature touches to the amazement of all. The natural resources of Equatorial Guinea were highlighted as well as wildlife.
One part that thrilled the crowd was the exhibition of the traditional dances of Equatorial Guinea amongst them Cacha, Ngomji, Ndzanga and Mokom.
The climax of the ceremony was the surprise unveiling of the mascot of the tournament, ‘Gaguie’at the centre of the pitch amidst fireworks