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World Cup Trophy receives warm welcome at Lugogo Cricket Oval

Long queues demonstrate the urge for people to get closer and view the prestigious trophy. Photo by Julius Businge

Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | On March 6, the World Cup Trophy, valued at US$10 million (Ushs 36bn), spent most hours of the day at Lugogo Cricket Oval where hundreds of people got a chance to get closer to it and have a photo opportunity.

Women, men, youths stood in long queues to get to the trophy.

“It is my chance today to look at the trophy,” said Bashir in an interview with The Independent.

“Uganda failed to qualify for World Cup in Russia and so this is my opportunity today to be [in Russia] for this year’s World Cup competition,” said Okoth, another man in his late 20s as he stood in the queue waiting to view the trophy.

Meanwhile, local artistes took to the stage for most part of the evening to entertain people who had turned up for the event.

Heavily guarded by military, police and other security agencies, the prestigious trophy landed at Entebbe International Airport on March 5 before mid-day – East African Standard Time, from South Africa where it had spent two days. It was officially received and touched by President Yoweri Museveni at State House, Entebbe before it was driven to Namanve, a Kampala suburb where beverage company – Coca-Cola headquarters – that sponsored its coming to Uganda are housed for company staff and other key officials to view.

Men walking towards the entry of the tent to view the trophy. Photo by Julius Businge

This was the second time it was coming to Uganda since 2009.

Government officials said hosting the trophy is important for making Uganda’s name known worldwide which has a positive implication on sectors like tourism – which is one of the top income earners for the country.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola officials said bringing this trophy to Uganda would boost morale among football fans and players to support and play harder for the national team to qualify for the competition in the future.

Going forward, Nigeria, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire and Egypt will be the final destinations out of 10 African countries to host the trophy.

This year’s trophy tour kicked off in September last year in host country, Russia and would visit more than 50 countries and regions across six continents, travelling 126,000 kilometers in nine months in the lead-up to the football tournament.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held from June 14-July 15, 2018 in Russia.

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