The original World Cup football trophy arrived to a grand welcome to the Sultanate of Oman capital of Muscat on Friday.
Brazilian World Cup winner Gilberto Silva unveiled the Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup trophy at a special function organised by Coca-Cola at the Royal Opera House.
HH Sayyid Kamil bin Fahd al Said was the chief guest for the special VIP press event attended by Oman football icon Ali al Habsi, Oman Football Association Chairman Salim al Wahaibi and Mohamed Akeel, Chief Executive Officer, Coca-Cola - Bottling Partner of Fifa World Cup.
Muscat leg is a part of the trophy tour which spans across 51 countries and territories.
Cup winner Silva said the trophy tells a story about a dream being fulfilled for him.
“After lifting the trophy once, now it is a great honour to unveil it in front of passionate football fans in Oman.”
“I know first-hand how lifting the Fifa World Cup trophy can excite millions of fans across the world. I’ve seen first-hand the passion for football across the Middle East. With 51 stops across the world, I’ve no doubt the Tour by Coca-Cola will inspire and engage an unprecedented number of fans and future rising stars from this region.”
In a message to Oman footballers, the Brazilian called on the local players to dream big and work hard towards fulfilling it.
“I have come up from a humble background in a Brazil village surrounded by sugarcane fields. And, my own experience shows that if you honestly work towards your dream, nothing is impossible.”
Omani goalkeeping legend, who also had a similar story to tell, enthused of being part of the World Cup trophy tour in his home country.
“I have played at the Premier League, which is among the top football league in the world. Only thing missing was the World Cup finals. But I feel proud of being selected as the Fifa ambassador for the World Cup trophy tour. I honestly feel that Oman will make the World Cup finals in the near future,” Al Habsi, who once worked as a fireman in Oman, said.
Al Habsi said: “It is an honour for us and our country that the World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola is in Oman as part of its global journey. It gives youth a chance to be closer to what football is all about – believing that anything is possible. It will also encourage more players to get into sports and make their country proud. Finally, seeing the original Fifa World Cup Trophy is also a huge motivation for us as it gives us hope that we, too will win this Trophy some day and not just host it.”
For the first time ever, the tour will visit all 32 Fifa World Cup qualifying countries, inspiring fans across the world through exclusive consumer experiences.
Mohamed Akeel said: “We are delighted to bring the energy and excitement of the world's most loved football tournament to Oman. For the first time ever, the Fifa World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola is beginning and concluding in the Middle East. At Coca-Cola, believing is magic and we are proud to bring fans to this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I would also like to thank Fifa and the Oman Football Association for their partnership.”
The Trophy Tour will visit 51 countries and territories, bringing Coca-Cola and Fifa one step closer to visiting all 211 football nations by 2030.
As well as Oman, the Tour will make several stops across the Middle East, visiting Bahrain, Kuwait and Lebanon. The Tour began in the UAE and will visit Saudi Arabia as the penultimate destination, before reaching the host country Qatar.
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.
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 6.142kg, the trophy depicts two human figures holding the globe aloft. Its current design dates back to 1974.
The original trophy can only be touched and held by a very select group of people, which includes former winners of the Fifa World Cup and heads of state.
Because regulations state that the original trophy must remain in Fifa’s possession and cannot be won outright, the team winning the Fifa World Cup retains the authentic trophy temporarily and is then permanently awarded the tournament edition trophy, the Fifa World Cup Winner’s Trophy (which is gold-plated, rather than solid gold, and engraved with the year, host country and winners of the respective event).