Lili is playful and can dance. And the crowd seemed to instantly fall in love with her on Sunday, her first public appearance as the mascot of the 2016 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Cameroon.
Her name, a contraction of Lioness, conveys sweetness, said Amina Amadu, one of more than 2000 people who attended the mascots unveiling along with draws for AFCON 2016 at the Yaounde Sports Complex.
“We were singing and dancing all through,” said Amadu. “She is really cute.”
The mascot is a young Lioness in a green shirt, red shorts and yellow socks, which are colours of the national flag and signature colours of Cameroon’s sports teams.
Lili came to the stage towards the end of the ceremony, and stayed on for more than half an hour, dancing with every group that went on stage until the final curtain call.
The crowd cheered. Fans took selfies.
“I think the mascot will be more memorable than the anthem,”said Ndip Ako, an aspiring tennis player. “People will be talking about it long after the tournament.”