Egypt didn’t send a Football team to the World Cup, but the country will be well represented during the opening ceremony Thursday.
Brazilian President Dilma Fousseff invited Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb to share his thoughts on peace and violence at the event, according to state-owned Al Ahram. Among a lineup of the world’s top football stars, the ceremony will also feature recently retired Egyptian Mohamed Abou-Treika.
Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Claudia Leitte, and drumming group Olodum, will also make appearances during what promises to be an over the top show. Featuring song, dance, acrobatics, and a 7,000 Nit LED ball comprised of 90,000 light clusters, event organisers estimate the opening ceremony represents more than 5,000 hours of work.
During the opening ceremony, performers will sing “We Are One”, the official song of the tournament.
“I truly believe that this great game and the power of music will help unify us,” Pitbull told BBC Newsbeat. “We are best when we are one.”
To pique our curiosity, FIFA has posted a few pictures of the gymnasts practicing for the opening ceremony on Twitter. In one, a young woman shows off her toe touch on a trampoline surrounded by dancers in blue practice suits.
“The sense of excitement here is amazing and everyone is very motivated,” said Daphne Cornez, the opening ceremony’s artistic director, in a news release. “It doesn’t matter whether they’re feeling tired or hot sometimes or if they have to go through routines again and again: they just keep on smiling. It’s amazing.”
Coffee houses and bars across Cairo will be screening the World Cup, beginning with the opening ceremony, which starts at 9pm.
Spot Café in Maadi promises good food and a variety of shisha flavours. If you’d like to enjoy a nice steak or mushroom with truffle oil soup in Dokki, head to Café Gourmet, 34 Michael Bakhoum Street, to watch the opening ceremony. In Zamalek, check out L’Aubergine, 5 Sayed El Bakry Street, or the Amar Al Sham Nile Boat, 7 Hod El Nile Street. Downtown, at El Mojito, 1191 Corniche El Nil, have a coconut Mojito while you watch the show, then head to the dance floor.