President Yoweri Museveni with the Fifa world cup trophy at State House, Entebbe on November 15, 2009. The trophy was on a 52-nation tour of Africa in the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament.
By Darren Allan Kyeyune
Kampala — Uganda Cranes will not be at the 2018 Fifa World Cup after they were beaten by Egypt to the available ticket to Russia.
But the East Africa nation is among the lucky 51 across six continents that will host the tournament’s prestigious trophy in the fourth global World Cup Trophy Tour by Fifa’s partners Coca-Cola.
Yesterday, Coca-Cola Africa Beverages announced Kampala will host the trophy on March 5-6 during the press launch at Kati Kati Restaurant. “Being a member country of Coca-Cola, we were able to meet the criteria to host this trophy,” Coca-Cola Senior Brand Manager Miriam Limo said. “It will be a momentous occasion.” Uganda had to beat competition to be one of the 10 African countries that will host the iconic 6.142kg gold piece of art across 12 cities.
And this will be the second time Uganda will host the trophy, the first having been on November 15, 2009 when President Museveni received it. Yet again, Museveni will receive it on March 5 before the public gets a chance to take pictures with it at Lugogo Cricket Oval the following day, a bottle of Coca-Cola being the pass. “Imagine a photograph of the Ugandan sunshine reflecting off the World Cup trophy!” wondered Simon Kaheru, the Coca-Cola Africa Beverages Public Affairs and Communications Director (Uganda).
“We are very happy and proud to put Uganda forward as a destination for events such as this. This trophy is an international guest and will be accorded a high level of security,” he added. National Council of Sports (NCS) General Secretary Nicholas Muramagi, representing government highlighted the Trophy Tour’s impact on tourism.
“For us as government, it’s a big mileage. Coca-Cola is in this project not by gambling around as they have nurtured talent through the COPA Coca-Cola to Cranes,” he said while being reminded of the likes of Muhammad Shaban, Khalid Aucho among others. “There are people who may not know our President but they are interested in the Trophy Tour. The traffic Uganda will generate is in millions of dollars and as well, it will stimulate the interest ahead of the glamour in June.”
Further, Limo announced that 12 selected Ugandans will travel to Cape Town, South Africa and will return with the trophy to Kampala.
The trophy will be in Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa tomorrow from Macau.