Trophy Tour completes African journey
Trophy Tour's African stops conclude in Cairo
Russia-bound nations Nigeria, Senegal and Egypt among final stops
Hector Cuper, Aliou Cisse and Gernot Rohr among the attendees
The feeling of anticipation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ was tangible this week as the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour™ by Coca-Cola touched down in three countries who will be heading to the global finals in the coming months.
Fans in Nigeria, Senegal and Egypt all got a glimpse of the Trophy that their respective nations will be battling to claim in Russia, with supporters young and old flocking to the various events as the Trophy Tour completed the African leg of its journey.
That all came after the Trophy had landed in Sudan at the tail-end of February, and journeyed through ten African countries before concluding in Egypt.
Trophy Tour's African journey * Khartoum, Sudan (22-23 February) * Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (24-25 February) * Nairobi, Kenya (26-27 February) * Maputo, Mozambique (28 February) * Johannesburg, South Africa (1-2 March) * Cape Town, South Africa (3 March) * Kampala, Uganda (5-6 March) * Abuja, Nigeria (7-8 March) * Lagos, Nigeria (9-10 March) * Dakar, Senegal (11-12 March) * Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (13-14 March) * Cairo, Egypt (15-16 March)
Upon arrival in Khartoum, Trophy Tour Ambassador Victoria Lopyreva greeted fans, before a visit to a local school and an event which involved an Augmented Reality experience for the public. Highlights in Ethiopia and Kenya included Haile Gebrselassie joining the festivities in Addis Ababa and an impressive fireworks display in Nairobi.
Maputo saw over 1500 attendees have their photo taken with the Trophy, before Carles Puyol added some star dust as the Trophy Tour visited the 2010 World Cup Hosts South Africa.
Local dancers greeted the Trophy as it arrived in Kampala, Uganda, before a reception at the State House with Yoweri Museveni - the President of Uganda. The Trophy then visited local workers at a Coca-Cola bottling plant - with the workforce showing their support for the Cranes by wearing the jerseys of their national team.
It was a four-day stop in Nigeria, the first of the trio of Russia-bound nations to receive the Trophy Tour. In total, an astonishing 7500 fans had their photos taken with the Trophy in Abuja and Lagos. Attendees included current and past members of the Super Eagles, with Peter Rufai and Ikechukwu Ezenwa joined by current national team Gernot Rohr to take in the excitement. Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari also paid a visit in Abuja, with the President of the Nigerian FA Amaju Pinnick joined by NFA colleagues in both cities.
The Trophy Tour then continued to Dakar, Senegal, taking in a visit to the residence of Senegal's President Macky Sall - with the Trophy also presented to fans who eagerly waited outside for a glimpse. Current Lions of Teranga coach Aliou Cisse was then joined by his former team-mate at the 2002 World Cup El Hadji Diouf to greet fans at an event, with local support reaching fever pitch ahead of the nation's return to the global stage for the first time since Korea/Japan.
The penultimate destination on the African tour took in Côte d'Ivoire, a nation who had reached the three most recent global finals, but will not be in attendance at Russia 2018. Nevertheless, fans turned out in their numbers to get their photo taken with the photo on the second day of the visit, after the country's President Alassane Ouattara had received the Trophy at the State House and employees at a bottling plant had a private view of the Trophy on the first day in Abidjan.
The African journey of the Trophy Tour concluded in Egypt - in Cairo and El Gouna. The Trophy made another Presidential visit -with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi - with current Pharaohs goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, coach Hector Cuper and legendary former player Hazem Emam also making an appearance. Thousands of fans turned out to see the Trophy, and their heroes, who will be making their long-awaited return to the global stage at Russia 2018 after a 28-year absence.
1998 World Cup winner Christian Karembeu joined the Trophy Tour for all stops from Nigeria to Egypt and helped each country understand the inspirational power of the Trophy, sharing messages of inclusivity across each nation.
The Trophy Tour has now headed to Europe. You can follow the Trophy's progress here.