An early taste of Colombia 2011
© AFP

A steaming, football-shaped cup of coffee surrounded by the colours of the Colombian flag will be the emblem of the FIFA U-20 Word Cup Colombia 2011, which will kick off in Barranquilla on 29 July 2011 and conclude a little over three weeks later on 20 August.

The official emblem was unveiled on Wednesday 29 September at a lively and colourful ceremony attended by FIFA representatives and officials from South America’s football confederation, CONMEBOL. Also present were Colombia’s state president, Juan Manuel Santos, and the president of the Colombian Football Association, Luis Bedoya Giraldo, as well as a host of distinguished guests that included ministers of state, the mayors of host cities, former footballers and local performing artists.

A video at the event showed a young boy visiting Colombia 2011’s eight host cities to show the emblem to their citizens, before the boy in question appeared on stage to hand it over to Eduardo Lara and Juan David Cabezas, the coach and captain respectively of the country’s U-20 team, who officially presented it to the watching world.

During the ceremony held at the Corferias International Exhibition Centre in Bogota, the FA president gave guests a short presentation of the process being undertaken by the country to ensure the best possible tournament, saying: “This ceremony is just another step in this immense project, one that Colombia has undertaken earnestly and wholeheartedly and which has had the unwavering support of the national government.”

I’m sure this will be a great event and, by the time it ends, all of Colombia will be able to say that football played a part, however small, in bringing this country together.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter

"We were right to have supported Colombia," insisted CONMEBOL President, Nicolas Leoz, who praised the work being undertaken in the country ahead of the tournament: “We hope it will be the best ever [U-20] tournament. From the minute it was awarded the event, we’ve had the utmost confidence in Colombia’s organisational capabilities.”

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who stayed two days in the country but could not attend the unveiling ceremony because of prior commitments, sent a warm message of support, in which he said: “I’m sure this will be a great event and, by the time it ends, all of Colombia will be able to say that football played a part, however small, in bringing this country together.”

President Santos then thanked FIFA for its faith in Colombia and assured everyone that this would be the best FIFA U-20 World Cup ever held. The head of state also said Colombians were very proud to be hosting the second-biggest FIFA event, which without doubt would be the most significant sporting event ever held in the country.

He went on to pay tribute to the fine work that went into securing the event’s hosting in the first place, saying: “I congratulate you on this great achievement. Now it our turn to complete its organisation and execution, a task we’re eager to assume. From 29 July to 20 August 2011, we’re going to live and breathe football,” he concluded.