AFCON 2013: Joy and Fear in Burkina Faso

AFCON 2013: Joy and Fear in Burkina Faso

AFCON 2013: Joy and Fear in Burkina Faso

There was mass hysteria in Burkina Faso on Wednesday night after the Stallions defeated the Black Stars of Ghana to reach their first Africa Cup of Nations final.

Uncountable numbers of Burkinabe – men, women and children – trooped out of their homes to celebrate the Stallions’ historic victory. Some broke down in tears by street corners, kneeling and thanking heaven for the triumph, while others, mostly youths, rode motorcycles in hundreds across the capital Ouagadougou honking their horns, screaming and singing. It was a night to remember.

"Today is my greatest day so far in this country. We have never seen such fervour and cause for national get-together before. You can see for yourself, even the trees, the birds and goats are celebrating alongside 21 million Burkinabe," Ismael Ouedreago, a 54-year-old stylist says.

Most restaurants and beer parlours served food and drinks gratis to passers-by, who were really not in the mood to eat or drink but to dance, jump, run and scream. Policemen abandoned their checkpoints to join the horde of jubilant fans.

"This is our first time to reach an AFCON final, and beating Ghana convincingly is worth celebrating even by taking off my duty uniform," Ahmed Sawadogo, a 37-year-old police officer said.

However, underneath the wild raptures lies some fear for Sunday's final against Nigeria, which many Burkinabe say remains very uncertain because of how the Super Eagles have been improving in the tournament.

"Although we played a 1-1 draw against Nigeria in the group stage, the Super Eagles now seem like a wild beast that has just been unchained. They are devouring and the general fear here now is they could do the same to us like they did to Mali earlier on Wednesday," said Awa Sanogo, a 41-year-old trader based in the country’s second largest city Bobo Dioulasso.

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