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Images from opening ceremonies at the Africa Cup of Nations

Jan 19, 2013, 11:25 AM EDT

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Four minutes ago, the 29th Africa Cup of Nations got underway when the host nation, South Africa, kicked off against Cape Verde, the island nation making their first appearance in the continental championship. Later today, Angola and Morocco round out the day’s play, but before a ball was kicked in Johannesburg, South Africa’s opening ceremonies reminded us of the particular beauty of these continental championships.

Just as other confederation’s championships reflect their members, Cup of Nations is distinctly African. The images you’ll see out of South Africa over the next three weeks can’t be replicated at another tournament, and to the extent that distinction’s reflected on the field, the tournament provides you a reason to watch. It may not fit whatever standard you’ve developed for your soccer, but it is a distinct (and high level) experience, one that just happens to include a number of the best players in the world.

Previews: Group A | Group B

Here are some of the images from today’s opening ceremony. Unfortunately, there’s no accompanying vuvuleza audio.

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