Hundreds of thousands of supporters at the airport and on the streets of Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan welcomed home the national football team on Monday after its victory at the African Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea. Supporters, who had watched their Elephants team lose in two finals during a decade that saw their country descend into political turmoil and two civil wars, poured into the streets following the win in a party that lasted much of the night. President Alassane Ouattara, who travelled in his motorcade through the celebrating crowds Sunday night, declared Monday a national holiday and called upon Ivorians to come to the lagoon-side national stadium to show their appreciation for the team. Cheering crowds decked out in Ivory Coast’s national colours – orange, white and green – swamped the airport and packed the 15-km (9 miles) route that brought the team from the airport to the city centre.
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