For many Arsenal fans in Kenya, the talk of Brazilian football legend and former Barcelona defender Juliano Belletti doesn’t always bring up good memories.
It is not yet lost on them that it was Belletti, then playing in the dying minutes of the 2006 Champions League Final in Paris, who dashed their hopes of winning the trophy after Arsenal’s successful campaign in the group stages.
In the final, Barcelona won 2-1 against Arsenal, with Belletti scoring the winning goal, his only one in the competition, and his only official score for the three seasons he played at the Spanish club.
Since then, playing in the Champions League final has remained a dream for Arsenal, causing unending disappointment to millions of fans worldwide year after year.
Yet, as fate would have it, Belletti is the FIFA ambassador who is bringing to Kenya the 18-carat FIFA World Cup gold trophy, and presenting a historic moment for soccer fans, including diehard Arsenal lovers, to marvel at the jewel on display at the KICC.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Kenya, it is an honour to be part of the 51 countries and territories that are part of the global tour of the sport’s most acclaimed trophy. I thank FIFA and all its partners, including Coca-Cola, for making this global tour a possibility and the stop in Kenya, a reality,” President Kenyatta said upon receiving the trophy from Belletti.
Coca-Cola East and Central Africa Franchise Vice President Debra Mallowah said Kenya is one of the nine countries across the continent selected to be part of this season’s Fifa World Cup trophy tour.
“The Fifa World Cup trophy tour is an extra ordinary opportunity to bring Kenyans together, taking a piece of football history and share a passion for the sport with each other. Indeed, football has the power to unite us all,” Ms. Mallowah added.
The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola kicked off on May 12 in Dubai and will visit 51 countries across various continents for the next six months leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The African leg of the tour started in Ethiopia where the trophy was on display between May 24th and 25th. In Kenya, it will stay between May 26th and 27th before moving to South Africa where football fans will get to view it from May 28th to 30th. It will then return to Tanzania, where it will be on display between May 31st and June 1st.
“We have lined up exciting activities including entertainment by Sol Generation and lots of music and fun tomorrow at KICC where consumers will have a moment to view and take photos with the trophy,” said Isabel Kariuki, Frontline Marketing Director, Coca-Cola East and Central Africa Franchise.
The FIFA World Cup Trophy is awarded to the winners of the FIFA World Cup while remaining in FIFA’s possession. Made of solid gold and weighing 6.142 kilos, the trophy depicts two human figures holding the globe aloft.
The Coca-Cola Company has had a long-standing relationship with FIFA since 1976 and has been an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup since 1978. Coca-Cola has had stadium advertising at every FIFA World Cup since 1950 and is a long-time supporter of football at all levels. This is the fourth time that Coca-Cola and FIFA have come together to bring the Trophy Tour to the world.