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Learning English - Words in the News
20 January, 2006 - Published 11:37 GMT
African Cup kick-off

The African Cup of Nations begins on Friday in the Egyptian capital Cairo. The tournament will be inaugurated by President Hosni Mubarak. Sixteen teams are competing, with the hosts Egypt among the favourites. This report from Ian Pannell:

Listen to the story

With a thunderous musical accompaniment hundreds of pharoahs and scarab beetles scuttle across the pitch at Egypt's national football stadium. A dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony later on Friday. Teams of people have been working around the clock to get it ready in time. But organiser Dr Vikan Gismedgen says everything is now in place.

"As in Africa, football is a big thing in Egypt as well, and all Egyptians, they are very much passionate about football, and this tournament is the chance to express their feelings in a very good manner to all the world, whether media or football fans."

The tournament's an important chance for the country to try and show that it can host, and win, a major competition. But there are fears that if the Egyptian side doesn't play well, the crowds will stay away and the African Cup may go off with a whimper rather than a bang.

Ian Pannell, Middle East correspondent

Listen to the words

a thunderous musical accompaniment
very loud music

rulers of ancient Egypt

scarab beetles scuttle
large black insects with round hard backs run

A dress rehearsal
A practice in costume

around the clock
day and night

in place

provide the place and other things that are needed for an organized event

go off with a whimper rather than a bang
start without much enthusiasm instead of lots of excitement

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