FIFA World Cup Trophy comes to The Bahamas
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Oct 09, 2013
For the first time ever, the FIFA World Cup Trophy came to The Bahamas.
The special visitor arrived at Odyssey Aviation yesterday on a private chartered jet from Georgetown, Cayman Islands, as a part of the nine-month world tour which started, and ends, in the 2014 World Cup host city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The tour is sponsored by Coca-Cola, and will cover 88 countries throughout the world. The Bahamas is one of 50 countries to host the trophy for the first time. The one-of-a-kind 18-carat gold masterpiece was unveiled at Odyssey Aviation by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson and Caribbean Bottling Co. Bahamas Ltd. (distributors of Coca-Cola here in The Bahamas) President Walter Wells yesterday. This is the third time that FIFA (International Federation of Association Football), in conjunction with Coca-Cola, has conducted the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, and so far, it is the largest and longest one.
Minister Johnson said that he is just happy to have the prestigious trophy here for Bahamians to see it.
The name of the country which wins each World Cup tournament is engraved at the bottom of the trophy.
“On behalf of the prime minister and the people of The Bahamas we wish to usher in another historic visitor to our shores. FIFA is the body which governs the greatest and largest sport on the planet. It is no short feat, no pun intended, that we would have this fantastic visitor come to our shores,” said the minister. “Next year, all eyes will be on Brazil for the hosting of the 2014 World Cup. Next year, The Bahamas is also hosting an important event - we are hosting the entire world for the first IAAF World Relay Championships, 152 countries for an entire weekend to qualify for the 2015 World Championships. It will be one of the most exciting events to hit these shores, but today, we wish to welcome FIFA and we welcome the trophy.
“The trophy is a world symbol of unity of the best that we have among us. We congratulate the football association of The Bahamas for the great work that they are doing on behalf of FIFA worldwide. We congratulate the great sponsorship of Coca-Cola for what they are doing here in The Bahamas and what they are doing for young people. We congratulate the Ministry of Tourism for promoting The Bahamas as a world-class destination for world-class sporting events, and today, world-class visits. Also, we congratulate Odyssey for the work that they have done in receiving us today, and making sure that this special visitor is safe, and we congratulate all of the people who come together to make these events world-class and first-class. This is history in the making. This is another golden moment for us, and there is no doubt that this will be something to remember for years to come.”
The trophy, which depicts two human figures holding up the Earth, paid a courtesy call on the Governor General of The Bahamas Sir Arthur Foulkes yesterday afternoon, before being transported to Grand Ballroom ‘C’ of the Atlantis Resort where it was on display for a cross section of the community. There was also an opportunity for members of the local youth and adult soccer teams to view and take photos with the trophy. However, as the Head of State, the Governor General was the only individual allowed to hold the trophy. The same stipulation applies for each visit of the FIFA World Cup Trophy, but at the conclusion of the tour, it is estimated that more than one million people would have seen the prestigious trophy worldwide.
A VIP gala event was held last night in Grand Ballroom ‘A’ of Atlantis to mark the occasion, and the FIFA World Cup Trophy left town this morning.
“We just want to thank Coca-Cola and FIFA for including The Bahamas on this tour. We are certain that this will provide the motivation and allow our kids to one day dream of lifting this same trophy,” said Bahamas Football Association (BFA) President Anton Sealey. “The fact that this trophy is here symbolizes the commitment and the respect that FIFA has for this region and The Bahamas in particular. I understand that the trophy is touching every Caribbean country. We are really proud and privileged to have this trophy here with us, and I just want to thank Coca-Cola once again for making this possible, and of course, FIFA for including us on this tour.”
Caribbean Bottling Co. Bahamas Ltd. President Wells said that it is an honor for Coca-Cola to come on board with FIFA in sponsoring such a magnificent tour.
“With five million plus visitors a year to The Bahamas, we are quite accustomed to welcoming people, but today’s visitor however is something unique that stands 14 inches tall, weighs just under 14 pounds, and is so precious that only heads of state or previous championship winners can touch it, and it is a whole new experience for us here in The Bahamas,” said Wells. “This tour is to world football what the carrying of the Olympic torch is to the Olympic Games, a traveling symbol that brings with it the building of excitement and anticipation about a series of events that pits the best in the world against one another, a series that tests skill, strength, discipline and determination; a series that rewards commitment, teamwork, sportsmanship and talent.
“Coca-Cola in The Bahamas is especially proud to sponsor the trophy’s first presence in the country. We believe that it symbolizes the reward for striving for excellence, that it offers opportunities for those from every walk of life to know that through perseverance and hard work they can be a winner, and that for all of us who are happy to stand on the sidelines, to know that even though we may be divided by which team we support, we are united in the belief that this sport allows unrivaled access, participation and empowerment.”
The Bahamas was the third Caribbean country to be visited on the world tour, and the ninth stop in total. The tour continues through Central America and the Caribbean through November 7, and from there will travel to Africa, the Middle East, Asia, South America, North America and Europe. It is scheduled to return to Brazil in late April 2014, in time for the start of the World Cup.