By Arthur Musinguzi
It was about three months ago that I got the great news that the World Cup will be brought to Uganda by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) officials and Coca-Cola. FIFA is an association which describes itself as an international governing body of association football. Coca-Cola needs no introduction.
The trophy was first in South Africa’s cities Johannesburg and Cape Town before being brought to Uganda on 5th March at Entebbe International Airport. I must say the team that gave the FIFA jet a water salute did an amazing job and display of brilliance.
Welcomed by cultural dances, officials from Century Bottling Company Limited, Coca-Cola and media, the trophy landed in my motherland at around 11.00 AM. 2009 was the last time the World Cup trophy was seen inside Ugandan boundaries.
The trophy was then taken to State House Entebbe. It’s safe to call it the home of President Kaguta Museveni. This same gentleman was President when the trophy was brought to Uganda in 2009. It is very accurate to say he is one of the few Presidents who have had the privilege to touch the World Cup trophy twice.
The World Cup trophy is not touched by anyone who is not a Head of State especially if they are not sports men. The World Cup is the greatest honor in football history if not all sports. It therefore needs to be attached with such importance. Many countries including Uganda have found it extremely difficult to qualify for the competitions. That’s how hard it is.
While addressing guests at State House, the President said the Trophy tour would enhance tourism in Uganda. That’s the greatest truth I have heard from President Museveni in the last 30 plus years. The country was taken by storm by the buzz that the trophy was coming to Uganda.
It was all over television, radio, newspapers , social media and mouth to mouth. Even my boda boda stage people were sharing the great news together. The rest of the world’s eyes were put on Uganda. Countless international media was in Uganda covering the Trophy’s arrival. With all that attention, trust me; the tourism sector in Uganda is yet to boom. I’m just waiting for the right figures to be said by those in charge and I’ll be celebrating with you all.
Unfortunately, the World Cup Trophy’s last day was at Lugogo Cricket Oval for the public to see. Ugandans turned up in hundreds and the attendants were divided into Very Important Persons( VIP) and General.
Those in the General section only needed to buy a Coca-Cola soda to enter and get a lifetime experience that they will live to tell their great grandchildren. Many people both foreign and Ugandan with excitement took pictures with the World Cup original trophy.
I’m glad to say I took a selfie with the World Cup trophy that millions of human beings have not and will never do.
There was also the VIP section for people like me. Yes, people like me. I’m sorry to brag a little but it is worth it. This was composed of people who have worked tooth and nail to make sure that the World Cup Trophy was brought here and organized everything from A to Z.
I won’t lie to you that I knew the designation of whoever was with me there but it was a beautiful place to spend your time. Oh, I almost forgot how the event started at 10:00am while it was still raining but Ugandans didn’t want to know and turned up in huge numbers. The historical event ended at to around 7:00PM when I had not got enough of it.
All the positive stories from international, local and social media that came out and continue to be shown, I am very confident will improve our tourism sector. If I must mention, the tourism sector is one of the sectors that bring in most foreign currency to the country.
Of the revenue that builds roads, schools, hospitals, pays teachers and Public Servants etc. comes from this sector. It is a very vital sector, therefore.
In sum, all those who worked tirelessly to make sure that Ugandans have the most fun with the World Cup trophy deserve a Coca-Cola soda or perhaps a beer on a chilled evening. They did an amazing job!!