Cape Town: A vibrant opening ceremony showcasing the cultural heritage of the African continent marked the inauguration of the biggest-ever cricket World Cup here Saturday night.
South African President Thabo Mbeki declared the eighth edition of the Cup open amidst thunderous applause by the capacity crowd at the Newlands Stadium, heralding the 14-team extravaganza.
After the enthralling programme, the teams marched in alphabetical order. The Indians, dressed in blue suit, got a warm applause from the fans.
The ‘protocol’ scene, sixth of the seven-part gala function, began with a march of Africa’s sporting ambassadors including cricketer Graeme Pollock, tennis star Amanda Coetzer, sprinter Frankie Fredericks and Formula One racer Jodie Sketter. Following them were umpires and referees of the competition and the teams.
The ‘safari’ saw the aboriginals from near the Kalhari Desert, on a hunting mission. Soon, renowned pop singer Leleti Khumalo took centrestage.