A glittering 2022 TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations opening ceremony more than lived up to expectations and was a fitting tribute to women, Moroccan and African culture.
A Zellige- a traditional and colourful piece of enameled terracotta tilework and a nod to Moroccan artisanal art - was the focal point of the opening ceremony at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex.
This was followed by a parade of ladies dressed in traditional outfits from all over Africa, as this celebration of continental women's football kicked off by highlighting the beauty and class of the African woman.
The competition was officially launched by CAF President Patrice Motsepe, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Moroccan Minister of National Education, Preschool and Sports, Chakib Benmoussa.
The show continued with a performance from rising Moroccan music star Manal Benchlika.
Recently crowned best female artist in North Africa at the Afrima Awards, she was surrounded by her dancers and presented a medley of her greatest hits, which was well received by the many fans present at the stadium. Her mini-concert ended with a dazzling fireworks display that lit up the Rabat night sky.
While the hit "Bensema" of supergroup Synapson sounded, featuring the Malian singer Oumou Sangaré, the flags of the 12 countries present at the TotalEnergies WAFCON were paraded around the field to mark the end of the opening ceremony.
It was a powerful, emotive outpouring of joy and passion from the proud host country.
The real celebration of African women's football, however, has only just begun - as the tournament kicks off in earnest.