Africa

Afcon 2015: Ivory Coast celebrates win with public holiday

Ivory Coast fans celebrate winning the Africa Cup of Nations in the capital of Abidjan Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ivory Coast fans celebrated their first Africa Cup of Nations win in 22 years

Ivory Coast announced a public holiday on Monday to celebrate its dramatic win over Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

A 9-8 victory on penalties on Sunday night gave the Ivorians their second title, in a repeat of the 1992 final.

The game was followed by joyous celebrations on the streets the country's biggest city, Abidjan.

Ivory Coast's win brings to an end a 22-year drought during which they lost twice on penalties.

President Alassane Ouattara announced the paid holiday on public radio and television after the game.

'Unbelievable'

Celebrations in Abidjan went on late into the night on Sunday.

Gozo Maxime Blessing, a 27-year old student, told the BBC that fans had been waiting 23 years for this moment.

"I'm great. I don't know how to express my joy. But this is a very good performance by the Elephants.

"I am happy. I am voiceless. For 23 years, we were waiting for this trophy and by the grace of God we've got it."

The team are due to arrive back home on Monday afternoon, with a celebration planned at the city's Felix Houphouet-Boigny football stadium.

Announcements on local radio requested that fans stay away from the stadium as its 35,000 capacity had already been reached.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Fans, some painted in national colours, gathered in Abidjan to watch the game
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ivory Coast's victory on penalties earned their fans an unexpected holiday on Monday
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Celebrations in Abidjan went on well into the night on Sunday

Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the decisive spot-kick to seal the victory against Ghana.

Captain Yaya Toure, who won the Premier League with Manchester City last season, described winning the cup as "unbelievable".

"When you win with your club, it's quite amazing," he said. "With your country, it's unbelievable."

The competition was organised by Equatorial Guinea in just two months after Morocco pulled out over fears of the spread of Ebola.

Morocco was subsequently banned from the 2017 and 2019 tournaments. Its football federation was fined $1m (£650,000) and ordered to pay $9.1m in damages to the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

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