On 23 January, a group of some of Africa’s most important veteran footballers met at the People’s Palace of Malabo. Among them included such stand-outs as Joseph-Antoine Bell, Roger Milla, Faustin Domkeu, Laurent Pokou, Tony Sylva and Cyrille Domoreaud—emblematic figures in African football.
The players, hailing from more than 12 countries, awarded President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo the Trophy of Great Africanist Leadership, thanking Equatorial Guinea for accepting to host the most important event of the Confederation of African Football (CAF)—the Africa Cup of Nations. If Equatorial Guinea had not hosted this event, it would have been celebrated outside the continent.
The CAF representative also congratulated the President for his organisational efforts and the urgency with which all the preparations were made. At the same time, the First Lady Constancia Mangue was given an award for her support in many works which benefit both the country and the continent.
In his speech, the President commented that “Africa is our continent, and we are all brothers”, at the same time clarifying that Equatorial Guinea did not choose to host the event because it has the economic means to do so, but to keep the tournament within the borders of the continent.
More information: Office of Information and Press of Equatorial Guinea—Guineaecuatorialpress.com
Bata Stadium erupted with joy after the National Nzalang made the second goal of the match, assuring the team’s ascension to the quarter-final rounds of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Equatorial Guinea has had a fairly steady performance over the first two matches of the Cup, with both games ending in a draw. As such, securing a victory over Gabon was the only remaining opportunity for the national team to qualify for the quarter-finals.
With the first goal scored by Javier Balboa, after his penalty kick in the match’s 55th minute, the tension began to rise giving the players the necessary confidence to maintain their intensity until the end of the match. When the bleachers flared up again with the second goal by Iban El Salvador in the 86th minute, finishing off a goal attempt by captain Emilio Nsue, Equatorial Guinea already had its foot secured in the next round of the tournament.
In Ebebiyin, Congo scored 2-1 against Burkina Faso, thus qualifying as the other Group A participant in the quarter-finals.
After Morocco’s request to postpone the date of the tournament due to the spread of the Ebola virus, and the subsequent refusal of this by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Equatorial Guinea became the tournament’s host and thus activated a series of Ebola-related training programmes for hotels, restaurants and tour agencies as an initiative of the Ministry of Health. These programmes were undertaken to teach service providers how to manage the virus, and the necessary protocols that must be taken in case of contagion.
With the arrival of thousands of people in Equatorial Guinea to enjoy the AFCON, pre-existing restrictions and preventative measures in international airports were augmented, such as the use of thermometers and health checks for travellers upon arrival. These methods will ensure the best outcomes for athletes, journalists, fans and all others in attendance.
Such preventative controls are also carried out before each AFCON match. Although no case has been reported in our country, a laboratory has been opened for the study and diagnosis of the disease.
An important part of an event of such magnitude as the Africa Cup of Nations is its organisation, particularly the infrastructure necessary for its successful development. This infrastructure is one of the reasons Equatorial Guinea stood up to host the event after having done so jointly with Gabon in 2012, already having previous organisational experience.
Due to their renovations in 2012, the stadiums in Bata and Malabo hold capacities of more than 35,000 and 15,250 fans, respectively. This thus places them as the principal stadiums for the country’s most important events, such as the opening and closing matches of the tournament’s Semi-finals and Finals.
The other two stadiums being utilised during the AFCON group rounds are Mongomo and Ebebiyin. Mongomo Stadium was opened in 2011, holding a capacity of 15,000 fans, making it yet another ideal candidate for such major sporting events. Finally, Ebebiyin Stadium has a smaller capacity, holding around 5,000 fans, but will also act as host for some of this year’s group round matches.
The Government’s investment in sports infrastructure has allowed Equatorial Guinea to again hold the position of host during the AFCON, further permitting the country to promote continental integration through sport.
Image: ©Al Jazeera
On Saturday 17 January, Bata Stadium played host to the opening ceremony for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as well as the tournament’s inaugural match, played between the teams of Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of the Congo.
The tournament, which was originally planned to take place in Morocco, changed its location when the organising country asked that the tournament be postponed due to the Ebola crisis. Faced with the refusal of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Equatorial Guinea, which had hosted the 2012 event in conjunction with Gabon, stood up to make the tournament happen, also taking its place among the AFCON’s participants.
Bata Stadium, constructed in 2007, received thousands of fans on Saturday, where they had the opportunity to see colourful music spectacles, traditional dances and the participation of international singers such as the Cameroonian Mani Bella and the popular Senegalese-American singer, Akon.
This much-awaited event then gave way to the first match of the AFCON, which resulted in a 1-1 tie between Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of the Congo. This then gave way to the victory of Gabon over Burkina Faso, thus occupying the first place within Group A.
Sunday the 18th saw Group B’s debut in Ebebiyin with matches between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and between Tunisia and Cape Verde. All teams tied at 1 goal, resulting in a complete tie amongst the Group B teams. Today, the first Group C teams will play in Mongomo—Ghana vs. Senegal and Algeria vs. South Africa.
Image: Reuters/ Amr Abdallah Dalsh
On 5 January, Nigerian energy firm Taleveras Group announced a recent deal with the Government of Equatorial Guinea which will see the construction of a giant oil storage hub in the Punta Europa region of the island of Bioko. This hub will be the largest of its kind in Africa, with a capacity of 1.34 million tonnes of storage for crude oil and other products such as gasoline and jet fuel. The statement from Taleveras Group noted that the hub will “be ideally located to service the key oil supply and demand centres throughout West Africa”. This addition to Equatorial Guinea’s industrial infrastructure will be greatly beneficial for the regional economy.
Read more here: http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFKBN0KF0EP20150106
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Ambassador Mari-Cruz Evuna Andeme is currently in attendance at the General Secretariat of the Organisation of Ibero-American States (OEI) in Madrid, Spain. She will participate in meetings with the Under-Secretary General of the OEI to discuss Equatorial Guinea’s membership and participation in the entity’s activities. These meetings follow the recent agreement between Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Equatorial Guinea, Agapito Mba Mokuy, and OEI Secretary General, Alvaro Marchesi Ullastres, regarding the opening of an OEI office in Malabo to carry out the OEI’s growth objectives in the areas of education, science and technology in the African continent, as well as to continue the promotion of the Spanish language in the region.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.