“When you come to the arrival of the Trophy and the teams then you know that the game is on,” said Dr. Danny Jordaan, CEO of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Organising Committee, today, addressing the media just minutes before the unveiling of the official FIFA World Cup Trophy in the host nation.
Having traveled around the globe to 86 countries in 225 days, as part of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola, the prize had finally arrived in South Africa, where it will visit 34 cities, towns and villages in a month-long tour of the vast country.
While the public begun to swell outside the OR Tambo Sports Centre in Khayelitsha, some vuvuzela-blowing fans were already noisily entering the building. Lucky winners of the Coca-Cola Pashasha moment would be the first to see the Trophy, with the added honour of taking a photo alongside football’s most coveted prize.
“We are here in Khayelitsha again,” said FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke. “From the tournament itself to our Football for Hope centres, the first of which is here in Khayelitsha, the World Cup is about bringing a dream to the people, and this Trophy is part of that dream."
The FIFA Secretary General drew laughter from the crowd when he mentioned that FIFA and Coca-Cola are so excited about the Trophy Tour's potential to inspire and captivate that they had even pursued the idea of sending the FIFA World Cup to the moon.
“Start believing,” said William Egbe, Coca-Cola President of the Eastern and Central Africa Division. “We expect that after this tour there will be such a wave of support that we are going to have a miracle on the African continent.”
With the veil lifted and the gold Trophy illuminating the room, a cacophony of vuvuzelas and singing begun to fill the other side of the hall as Pashasha moment winners gathered around a stage and MCs got the celebrations underway.
Mathematics teacher Lulama Phillips had her whole Grade 6 class with her. The local schoolchildren were sporting a bright homemade banner adorned with paintings of all their favourite players from various countries. “The kids made the banner in February” said Luluma. “They picked their favourite player from all nations and made it just to show their support for the World Cup. We never expected to be standing here waving it moments before seeing the trophy!"
After some music, break dancing and a crowd favourite - the imaginary goal celebration game - fans begun to gather in the Sony 3D experience room. As a gold ball shot out from the screen and straight at the viewers, deep 'oohs' and 'aahs' echoed across the room.
As people gathered in line after the 3D spectacle and edged closer towards their intimate moment with the FIFA World Cup, they were shared their thoughts on seeing the Trophy on home soil. Vuyo Maqebelo, a university student, summed up the feeling: “It’s a privilege. You can feel it now. We are prepared.
Another supporter added: I cannot explain what I feel. When I won the chance to take my photo with the Trophy, my children were so jealous!”
One of the most striking Coca-Cola Pashasha moment winners was 55-year old Elisabeth. A grandmother and Khayelitsha pre-school teacher, she had been waiting outside from 7am in anticipation of the day.
“In my heart I will never forget today,” said Elisabeth. “I must go write in a calendar this day, I must never forget. At my age I’m lucky I’m still here and so excited for the World Cup. Thank you for bringing it to Khayelitsha."