The streets of Abidjan are buzzing with excitement as fans flock in from across Africa ahead of the continent’s biggest football party kicking off on Saturday night.
Cote d’Ivoire’s capital has been transformed into a sea of colour and noise as the CAF Africa Cup of Nations hype shifts into overdrive.
Fans draped in their national colours have poured into the city, with streets and bars filled with jerseys, flags and vuvuzelas.
Buses full of supporters have arrived from neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Senegal Mauritania, and Nigeria in recent days.
Meanwhile the airport has been abuzz as fans and media fly in from across Africa and the world before the tournament opener with cities across the country witnessing a similar wave.
“The atmosphere here is amazing already,” said Morocco fan Hassan El Bakkali told CafOnline.com in Abidjan on Saturday morning.
An Ivorian fan Yves Bedie said: “Everyone is excited for the football to start. You can feel the AFCON fever building in the city.”
Vendors are capitalising on the football frenzy by selling team jerseys, caps, scarves and paraphernalia on street corners.
Roads are jammed with honking cars and motorbikes festooned with flags as national pride sweeps through Abidjan.
Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana Morocco and Mali colours are proving particularly popular given the heavy expectations on the hosts and reigning champions.
But shirts from Nigeria, Cameroon and North African nations like Egypt are also selling fast.
When the Elephants take on Guinea-Bissau at the Stade Olympique d’Ebimpé on Saturday night, a carnival atmosphere will engulf the stadium.
Ivorians are confident their array of Europe-based stars like Sebastian Haller, Simon Adingra and Franck Kessie can deliver glory on home soil.
An electric opening ceremony will further crank up the voltage inside the packed 60,000-seater arena in Abidjan.
But the AFCON passion is not confined to the Ivorian capital, with millions across Africa eagerly counting down to kick-off.
From fan parks in Senegal to crowded bars in Morocco, an entire continent is holding its breath in anticipation.
The next month will be enthralling ride for Africans as 24 finalists battle for continental supremacy.
But this weekend, all eyes are on Abidjan as Cote d’Ivoire prepares to host the world’s most thrilling sporting spectacle.