President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday had an exquisite moment with the World Cup trophy at Statehouse, Nairobi where Fifa officials paid him a courtesy call.
The silverware is on a global tour to promote the World Cup tournament that is scheduled for June this year in Russia.
Kenyatta, who was flanked by several dignitaries among them the new Sports and Culture Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and Permanent Secretary Kirimi Kaberia, promised to ensure that the national government and the county governments will work together to develop local football.
“I am truly grateful to Coca-Cola and Fifa for picking Kenya as one of the countries to be graced by the trophy. It is a show of the considerable support, friendship and partnership between ourselves and corporates, and their commitment in helping us develop football in this country.
“Perhaps one day we shall make an appearance there, but for now we look forward to seeing this trophy again in four years,” he said.
The six-kilogramme Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) World Cup trophy touched down the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 11am from Ethiopia, before being delivered to the head of state two hours later.
President Uhuru Kenyatta lifts the World Cup trophy at State House, Nairobi on February 26, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |NATION MEDIA GROUP
It is the third time the 36 centimetre-tall silverware is making a sojourn in Nairobi following similar stops in 2010 and 2013 ahead of the World Cup tournaments in South Africa and Brazil respectively.
Valued at an estimated price of Sh1 billion, the glittering trophy is on a global tour to promote this year’s World Cup tournament which begins in June, by which time it will have toured 51 countries and 91 cities across the globe.
It is made of solid gold and landed in Nairobi from Addis Ababa, and it will leave Kenya on Wednesday morning on its way to Maputo, Mozambique.
Only heads of state are allowed to touch the gleaming treasure, but members of the public will be able to view it on Tuesday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).
Beverage makers Coca-Cola are giving free tickets to those who will avail themselves for the viewing experience.
“Free tickets to view the trophy will be made available at the pavilion sites in the route cities and distributed through the Coca-Cola local partners. Fans will be able to see the trophy up close and have their photo taken with it on Tuesday, but they will not be able to touch it,” Coca-Cola’s brand manager Rodney Nzioka said in a statement to Nation Sport on Saturday.
The World Cup trophy is the most recognised sports symbols in the world, and former G4S brand manager told Nation Sport that Sh4 million was spent guarding the trophy when it first landed in Kenya in February 2010.
The responsibility of guarding the silverware through customs clearance this year has been given to Willfreight Express Cargo Services, and an elaborate security team complete with police will be involved in guarding it thereafter.