A green, gold and blue flag draped limply from the taxi's aerial. On various billboards, Gaguie, the gorilla mascot of the tournament, dives to his right to make a comfortable save. A guest house advertises its "special" rates - that is, overpriced - for the tournament. But, generally, Libreville yesterday felt like any other African capital: the casual visitor would have no way of knowing the final of the Cup of Nations was taking place today.
"When Gabon went out," said Tony, a taxi driver, "people lost interest. We only care about supporting our home team."
At least they care about that, although even then to speak of a nation being gripped by the Cup of Nations would be misleading.
There was a buzz on the morning of the quarter-final, and touts were at work in the car parks and by the sides of busy intersections. But it was far from the fervour that took over, say, Egypt in 2006 - ugly and nationalistic as that was.
The stadium eventually was almost half full, but fans were still arriving at half time.
In Equatorial Guinea it was worse.
In Bata, where the co-hosts played their first two games, the sense of excitement and anticipation was sufficient that police fired tear gas to disperse crowds they had created by checking individual tickets ahead of the main stadium.
Victories in those games led to scenes of great celebration in the stadium, but the general population reacted with indifference.
When a win over Senegal - achieved in the most dramatic of circumstances, with an injury-time winner after the concession of a last-minute equaliser - secured progress to the quarter-final, the people of Malabo, the capital, acted with mild bewilderment. A handful of horn-tooting minibuses and vans careered through town, but it was hardly a nation taking to the streets in joy.
Under the rule of Obiang Nguema, Equatorial Guinea has been a place in which mass spontaneity has rarely been possible, and is a sense of a population that does not know how to celebrate.
Malabo demonstrated its lack of interest in the national side in the third group game, against Zambia, when it was unable to fill the 15,000 seats of its stadium.
For games not involving the hosts, attendances were worse. Official figures are impossible to come by, but few games attracted more than a couple of thousand spectators, and many of them were official delegations from abroad. The Angolan government, for instance, paid for 750 fans to travel, putting them up in two apartment blocks on the road to the airport.
"It was a little disappointing," conceded Ruslan Obiang Nsue, the head of the local organising committee, "but I think it happened because of the success of our national team. People have preferred to save their money to follow the national team."
His was a nice attempt to dress a major failing as a positive, but it holds little water.
The cheapest tickets cost around US$10 (Dh36.7). In a country in which, according to the organisation EG Watch, 70 per cent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, $10 clearly is a sum beyond most people. But pricing is something of a red herring.
In a region in which disposable income tends not to be limited but to be nil, few would save for tickets whatever the cost.
Even when fans were allowed in to the two semi-finals at no charge, only a few thousand turned up. There is just no culture of going to watch matches for the sense of spectacle.
Mark Gleeson, the doyen of African football journalism, said fans on the continent approach sports differently than their European counterparts, using a famed cricket ground in Cape Town as an example. He said: "I'm still struck when I hear English cricket fans saying, 'Gee, it's great, here I am at Newlands.' We just don't have that in Africa. You go to be entertained and that's it."
For fans conditioned to watching their football on television - the Champions League, Spanish Primera Liga and the English Premier League, in particular - there is a preference for sitting at home or in a bar with a drink rather than travelling a few kilometres and braving the police at the stadium.
Nsue talks bravely of establishing a professional league in Equatorial Guinea, of importing Cameroonians and Senegalese to raise the level but, frankly, it seems improbable.
Even in the short term the relative success of the co-hosts has only raised a flicker of concern.
In a few weeks, you suspect, people will be back in front of their televisions, watching Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Arsenal in the Champions League, and the modern, well-appointed stadiums will stand empty.