The comment in the leading paper here â€“ the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, on the match Argentina played against Ivory Coast was, â€œEfficiency triumphs over artâ€! In a match that probably set the standard for the rest of the tournament, Ivory Coast indeed displayed an absolute mastery of the game. This was football in its element, a sensational delicacy! Though they are far from a repeat of the almost legendary furore staged by Senegal four years ago, they made a first good impression. More importantly, the team around Didier Drogba proved one more time that Africa has no reason to stick head in sand, but has what it takes to meet competition at the global level. An African team in a World Cup debut match couldnâ€™t make this point more impressively than the fabulously dressed Ivorians did.
The Main Arena stadium, the extended stadium across the Main river from where I watched the match, succumbed to the charm and the grace of Africa. A group of drummers and singers in Ivory Coast team colours graced the occasion with a touch of Africaâ€™s spirit of celebration and jubilation. Basically it at moments turned into a show in a show as fans switched from watching the game to watching the drumming and the ecstatic ululations. As the African drum thundered out across the river, merging with the softly falling waves, now dimly lit by a dream summer sunset, Africa had spectacularly entered the World Cup 2006 in style. What potential to excel and produce the very best! Afterwards â€œLetâ€™s all celebrate and have a good timeâ€ struck the waves to mark start of the late evening global party.
A city couldnâ€™t be more colourful and festive now, with fans singing and making merry. Hardly need for police to intervene, whose apparently effective stance was to keep a very low profile and only step in when absolutely necessary. In one instance, they raided a joint believed to be a centre for a ring of international, forced prostitution! Some arrests made to help investigations. In another instance, they intervened to quell a row between two drunk fans from the same country. One of the fans had drawn a knife, setting the pub into aggressive commotion. All in all though, a very peaceful global party right through the night.
The writer is a Ugandan who has lived in Germany for 18 years
Africa entered World Cup in style