CAIRO, Egypt – Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians poured into the streets all over the country waving flags and beating drums late Sunday to celebrate their soccer team's 1-0 victory over Cameroon in the final of the African Cup of Nations.
The scene was especially dramatic in the capital Cairo's twin city of Giza where crowds wielding flaming cans of aerosol spray flooded the massive eight-lane Arab League street, a major thoroughfare lined with shops and fast food restaurants, bringing traffic to a halt with their celebrations.
Fans ecstatic over their country's sixth African Cup title beat drums and climbed on top of cars and buses while fireworks lit up the night sky — something police confirmed was happening all over the North African nation of 80 million.
"I feel very happy and I'm going to party all night to celebrate," said 19-year-old Cairo resident Mohammed Saeed as he marched with his friends down the crowded main road running along the Nile carrying an immense Egyptian flag. His face was also painted with the national colors.
The bridges spanning the Nile river were also soon choked with honking cars and parades of celebratory fans, while below tour boats sounded their own horns to accompany the drumbeats and chants of the crowds.
"The whole of international media focused on the sub-Saharan African teams and now a team with neglible European league representation won the cup," said Ashraf Helmi, 30, who spent an hour stuck in traffic waving a flag after the game. "Egypt has been underrated, people haven't given them their due."
In the neighboring Gaza Strip, dozens of Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate Egypt's win, while the Hamas-led government sent its own official congratulations.