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Last Updated: Friday, 10 February 2006, 23:58 GMT
Egypt rejoices at record Cup win
By James Copnall
BBC News, Cairo

Egyptian fan celebrates African Cup of Nations win in Cairo
Cairo witnessed wild scenes after Egypt's African Cup win

Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo to celebrate Egypt winning the African Nations Cup.

The main streets near the Cairo International Stadium, the site of Egypt's triumph, were blocked solid by jubilant fans.

Most were waving the black-white-red Egyptian flag. One supporter, driving the wrong way down the road, was wearing a balaclava in Egypt's colours.

Cars honked their horns to a wild rhythm, and young men sang loud choruses of support for their team.

"I am so happy, we have won the Cup," said Amr, who was still outside the stadium long after the team had left.

"Egypt has hosted the best African Cup, and we have the best team!"

Penalty shoot-out

Other fans had some kind thoughts for the losers in the final, the Ivory Coast.

"I wish Ivory Coast good luck for the World Cup," said one. "But today Egypt were too strong!"

Egypt's players celebrate winning the African Cup of Nations
Egypt's football team has now won the cup five times

Egypt beat Ivory Coast 4-2 on a penalty shoot-out, after regular time and extra time finished goal-less.

Mohamed Abou Treika scored the winning penalty, after the Ivorian attackers Didier Drogba and Bakari Kone missed spot kicks.

Drogba had missed two good chances earlier, but it was by no means one-way traffic.

Egypt had a goal disallowed, and the Egyptian captain Ahmed Hassan struck a controversially-awarded penalty against the post.

More than 74,000 fans watched the game, and the stadium was full a good three hours before kick off.

Illuminated skyline

The Egyptian fans - and perhaps the 200 or so Ivorian supporters - made an indescribable amount of noise.

The Egyptians applauded the Ivorian national anthem politely, then roared out their own so strongly there was no need for microphones or amplifiers.

Egyptian fans celebrates African Cup of Nations win in Cairo
People honked their car horns and flew the Egyptian flag

One of their biggest cheers was reserved for Egypt's President, Hosni Mubarak, who watched the game and then presented the cup to Egypt's 39-year-old striker Hossam Hassan.

Mubarak also brandished the Cup himself, as if he - and not Egypt's footballers - had provided the heroics on the pitch.

As the trophy was handed over, vivid fireworks burst over the stadium, illuminating the Cairo skyline.

After the trophy presentation, several hundred ecstatic fans massed around the Egypt team bus, banging on the side and refusing to let it leave the stadium until they had been acknowledged.

Those wild scenes carried out into the rest of Cairo, as people massed alongside the road the team would take, and throughout the rest of Egypt.

Egypt have now won a record-breaking five African Nations Cups.


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