One Game, Three Countries, Four Cities

The West Africa leg of the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour (FWCTT) has come and gone but the passion and anticipation it ignited for the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup™ tournament remain palpable in three countries visited: Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast. More so, in the first two countries which qualified for the tournament and will be vying for this very Trophy in Russia, alongside 30 other countries.

The Trophy Tour in this region was beyond football. At each stop, it bloomed into a social and media carnival, showcasing the rich diversity of cultures and giving invited local football stars, pop celebrities and political leaders alike a most coveted platform to connect with the youth.

The activations across the three countries, included colourful arrival ceremonies at the airports, media parleys, presidential receptions and public viewing. High ranking government officials and other dignitaries were hosted at exclusive viewing events in Nigeria’s two main cities, Lagos and Abuja, as well as in Dakar, Senegal. Christain Karembeu, a member of France’s 1998 FIFA World Cup™ winning team and FIFA Ambassador for the West Africa tour, added flavor to the events by his presence and inspirational messages to the national teams and the youth in each country.

For the thousands of football fans, young and old, who got the privilege to view the Trophy and take a photograph beside the world’ most recognized sports icon, the experience was unforgettable and a cherished bragging right.

The FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour plane made its first touchdown on West African soil in Nigeria. Speaking at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the West Africa Business Unit President, Peter Njonjo, told President Muhammadu Buhari and his Cabinet that the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour is part of Coca-Cola’s global commitment to football development. “We see football beyond just a game. It is a fast-growing economy that Africa, with its youth bulge and football passion, must develop”, he said.

President Buhari thanked FIFA and Coca-Cola for the visit. He acknowledged Coca-Cola’s longstanding contributions to the development of football in Nigeria, describing the sport as a strong unifying factor for the country. The President echoed Njonjo’s wish that Nigeria’s national team, the Super Eagles, would bring home the Trophy.

The FIFA World Cup™ Trophy was also hosted on a live program at the BBC West Africa Bureau in Lagos.  The program was broadcast on TV, radio and web channels in the BBC English, French and local Nigerian language services. 

At the next stop in Senegal whose qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ came after 16 years absence, the excitement around the Trophy Tour was feverish. At the reception ceremony in the Presidential Palace in Dakar, President Macky Sall thanked Coca-Cola and FIFA for spotlighting Senegal to the world with the Trophy Tour. He encouraged the national team, the Teranga Lions, to go for the Trophy and charged Senegalese youth to embrace unity, team spirit and respect – all values football espouses

In Ivory Coast, President Alassane Ouattara received the Trophy at the State House in Abidjan. He encouraged the country to remain positive that the national team would work towards qualifying for the next FIFA World Cup™ in 2022. The Trophy was also hosted at the Coca-bottler, Solibra’s Abidjan offices for a private viewing by system associates.

West Africa is no doubt #ReadyFor FIFA World Cup™ 2018!