By Thomas Odongo
President Yoweri Museveni has said that Uganda will one day qualify for the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup tournament and also win the prestigious trophy.
President Museveni made the remarks today in the afternoon at State House, Entebbe before unveiling the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
“We hope to win this trophy and retain it. This may take a few years considering that the teams from developed countries train from advanced grounds while Uganda still has raw talent,” he said according to a statement from state house.
President Museveni also said the visit was symbolic as it showed FIFA’s confidence in Uganda’s competitiveness.
Mr. Ahmed Rady, the Century Bottling Company General Manager, East Africa, said that the trophy was brought to Uganda because Coca Cola is passionate about sports, football in particular, and Ugandans are also passionate about football.
The trophy is on a global tour ahead of this year’s tournament set to kick off in June in Russia. Before the prestigious tournament and arguably one of the most televised sporting events (2014 finals reached 3.2 billion viewers globally), there is a 100-days tour of the trophy across 91 cities in 51 countries.
The global leg of the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy tour by Coca Cola was launched on January 22, 2018 at a ceremony in the British capital of London.
The tour kicked off on 23rd January 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka and will end on 1st May 2018 in Vladivostok, Russia.
The FIFA World Cup Trophy was introduced in 1974. The 18-karat gold, with a malachite base, standing at 36.8 centimeters high and weighing 6.1 kilograms, was made by Stabilimento Artistico Bertoni Company in Italy.
The trophy is competed for by all the 211 FIFA member associations, Uganda inclusive, where the successful 32 finalists engage in a three-week tournament to determine the winner.
Uganda is the 23rd country, this year, to host the World Cup trophy on its tour. This is the second time Uganda has been accorded an opportunity to host the coveted trophy. The earlier stop was in 2009 ahead of the World Cup tournament in South Africa.
Back in 2009, the governing FIFA regulations allowed only African Heads of State to touch the prestigious trophy but on this tour the public in the different countries has been accorded an opportunity to view it up close. Ugandans will get the opportunity to view the trophy tomorrow at Lugogo Cricket Oval in Kampala before it heads to Abuja, Nigeria.
The Russian Ambassador to Uganda, Alexander Dmitrievich Polyakor, Members of the Ugandan Cabinet, State House staff and journalists had the opportunity to take photographs with the trophy at State House.