Africa Cup of Nations Opening Match, Ghana vs Guinea

During our trip to Ghana, we were lucky enough to catch the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations. We drove as close to the stadium as we could and luckily were able to park at a tennis club about a half mile away. We tried in vain to find tickets through the approved outlets such as the Ghana Commercial Bank and the post office, but none of them had tickets, so we went to the stadium ticketless and had to scalp them. We paid $35 per ticket for a $4 ticket but it was worth it for a once in a lifetime experience.

Outside of the brand new stadium there was a big crowd and you could buy alcohol and other items like branded shirts and flags. Inside the stadium was a pretty big party, with parades of people and everyone clapping and cheering. The loudspeakers in the stadium were not loud enough to be heard over the crowd.

The opening ceremonies represented of a lot of different ethnic groups performing various drumming and dancing, but unfortunately we couldn’t hear much over the crowd. I believe it was created by the University of Ghana and other professional dancers and performers. It ended with the Ghanian flag made from people holding umbrellas over their heads and a flyby from a helicopter also holding the flag.

One of the highlights of the match was the crowd. Sitting about 10 seats away from us, also in the cheap seats, was the ex-president of Ghana, JJ Rawlings. He caused quite a commotion and people surrounded him for pictures and autographs when he first arrived. The police later cleared the crowd and JJ got to enjoy the game like the rest of us.

The match was a good one, with the crowd drumming through the whole thing. Ghana beat Guinea 2-1 in the last few minutes of the game from a goal by star Michael Essien. Here is a gallery we created that contains a lot of images from the match and another page with some video clips, enjoy!

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