The FIFA World Cup trophy is no doubt the most coveted piece of silverware in world football. Countries across the globe dream to see their own lift the crown but it is a prize enjoyed by an elite few.
The two-day trophy tour sponsored by Coca-Cola has made one dream a reality for football fans in Uganda giving them the chance to have a first-hand look at the 6.1kg gold statue.
The excitement that comes with the sight of the most coveted prize in football offered a fresh boost for the game in a country that was close to snipping Egypt for a place in the finals.
Egypt qualified ahead of Uganda topping Group E with 13 points. Uganda was second with nine points.
Indeed President Yoweri Museveni while hosting the trophy at State House on Monday used the occasion to pledge to support Uganda’s dream to play at the finals soon.
“We shall continue government support to improve Uganda’s rankings until we reach the finals in 2022,” Museveni said.
As Fufa president Moses Magogo explained: “The visit of the trophy to Uganda is another highlight in the growing confidence of FIFA to Uganda.”
Why Uganda twice?
Uganda has hosted the trophy twice since the trophy tour began in 2006. Only 10 countries will complete the African leg of the global tour.
Fifa’s Marketing Alliances Manager Felicity George hinted that the passion Ugandans have for their national team offers a great choice.
“At the bottling plant, more than 70% of the employees were wearing the national team jersey. It was an awesome moment and surely everybody would want to come back here again,” she said.
Is it the real trophy?
According to George, who manages the relationship between FIFA and Coca-Cola, the handsome piece of solid gold that was displayed in Uganda for two days, is the one a winning nation lifts before they are handed a gold plated replica.
“Visitors to the FIFA World Football Museum now have the opportunity to see the 2018 FIFA World Cup Winners’ Trophy instead,” George said yesterday at Serena Hotel during a media interaction.
The trophy at the museum will be awarded to the new world champions after the official final ceremonies at which the original trophy is presented.
The original trophy will then be put back on display after the tournament ends.
Excited Ugandans visited the trophy on a wet and cold morning yesterday at Lugogo Cricket oval.
Schools that participate in a grassroots Copa Coca-Cola programme were offered an opportunity to view it first before the rest of the joined the fanfare.