CAN 2024: “It’s crazy, everyone thinks the same thing: this tournament is crazy”, one of the most beautiful CANs in history ?

CAN 2024: “It’s crazy, everyone thinks the same thing: this tournament is crazy”, one of the most beautiful CANs in history ?

La CAN 2024 a vu le triomphe de la Côte d'Ivoire. MAXPPP – Anis/APP

Ambiance, sécurité, spectacle…. la Côte d'Ivoire, pays hôte et vainqueur de la compétition, a vécu une Coupe d'Afrique au-delà de ses espérances.  

With generally well-filled stadiums, spectacle on the pitches, an incandescent atmosphere throughout the country for almost a month, Côte d'Ivoire succeeded in its bet of ;#39;organize one of the most successful African Cups of Nations (CAN). For many observers, this CAN is indeed one of the most beautiful in history.

Rather packed stadiums

Before the start of the competition, the organizers made a promise that seemed difficult to keep: no match should take place in front of empty stands. While the stadium for the opening match was only two-thirds full, Prime Minister Robert Beugré Mambé immediately assured that he would take measures to remedy the situation.< /p>

It's one of the most beautiful CANs I've seen, very nice, invigorating

If access to the physical ticket office remained chaotic throughout the competition, very quickly, with a few rare exceptions, the stadiums showed good attendances, including in the 1st round, during which CAN matches usually struggle to attract crowds.

"It's one of the most beautiful CANs that I's seen, very nice, invigorating", experienced coach Claude Le Roy told AFP. It now remains to transform the test and prevent the enclosures, particularly those outside Abidjan, from becoming "white elephants" little used. According to the Ivorian Football Federation, they will be used in particular for national championship matches.

An incandescent atmosphere

From Abidjan to Korhogo, via Yamoussoukro, Bouaké and San Pedro, videos of supporters from all over the continent raving about the welcome of the population Ivory Coast were numerous. And the host country's failed first round did not for a moment detract from the good atmosphere that reigned in Ivory Coast. "We lost but we don't care", some Ivorian fans even sang, after the 0-4 defeat against Guinea Equatorial, at a time when the Elephants were on the verge of elimination.

From simple maquis – restaurants and street bars – to official fan zones, Ivory Coast lived for a month to the rhythm of the CAN. Students were even excused from lessons on Elephant match days. And a CAN is never perfectly successful without its "hit" musical that will be remembered.

This year, it was the arranger Tam Sir who stole the show from the Magic System and other celebrities with a "Coup du Marteau" heady with simple choreography which has been taken up well beyond the Ivorian borders.

With the final victory of the Elephants, the atmosphere definitely changed into a great celebration. Monday was even declared a public holiday.

Security assured

This was THE big concern of several observers before the start of the competition. In addition to the risk of a jihadist attack in a country where two neighbors – Burkina and Mali – struggle daily with this threat, a stampede around the stadiums was one of the main fears.

Generally disciplined and well sorted in advance by the strong police force deployed around the stadiums, the spectators were able to calmly watch all the matches. And when the crowd pushed a little hard to enter like in Yamoussoukro during Cameroon – Senegal in the 1st round, the authorities quickly released the pressure to allow spectators to enter, sometimes even without a ticket.

The only downside: several deaths were reported in road accidents, during celebrations of Elephant victories.

The most prolific edition in history

Often associated in the collective imagination with a defensive competition, with few goals, the CAN 2024 took everyone on the wrong foot. With 119 goals, it is even the most prolific edition in history, and it has also included numerous matches with incredible twists and turns.

Obviously, the Ivory Coast's journey will occupy a special place in the memories of football fans: almost eliminated in the 1st round, it came back from the dead notably overthrowing Senegal and Mali before eliminating Congo and triumphing in the final against Nigeria.

What a CAN that was!

But other teams have defied the predictions by knocking out favorites. Algeria thus left the CAN in the first round, exited by the astonishing Mauritania, Egypt fell against the DRC in the round of 16 while Africa of the South pushed Morocco aside.

"It's crazy, everyone thinks the same thing: this tournament is crazy. There are no more small teams and that's very good", noted Ivorian defender Serge Aurier. Sunday evening, after the final, a phrase came back to many lips: "What a CAN, that was!".

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