FIFA World Cup trophy visits the Solomons

Governor General Sir Frank Kabui and Christian Karambeu hoist the trophy. Photo: Lowen Sei

The iconic FIFA World Cup trophy made a brief stop in the country today on its global tour ahead of the World Cup in Russia later this year.

Hundreds of people were at Henderson International Airport to greet the trophy when it arrived around 6am.

Christian Karembeu, a member of the French team that won the 1998 World Cup, and Governor General Sir Frank Kabui unveiled the trophy in front of invited guests.

Members of the public watched from outside the airport in hopes of catching a glimpse of the trophy.

The trophy was displayed on the airport tarmac for three hours before it was taken to Papua New Guinea.

The trophy displayed at Henderson International Airport. Photo: Lowen Sei.

At the event today, Christian Karembeu said bringing the trophy to the country was a way to share the World Cup experience with Pacific Islanders.

“I feel very, very proud because I am from this region, and for me to share this experience with the people of my region is also a dream come true,” he said. “Every football fan dreams about it, and now you have the experience to be up close to the FIFA World Cup trophy.”

He said the stop in the Solomons was also a way to boost the country’s efforts to reach the World Cup finals and send the message that anyone can do it.

Christian Karembeu lifts the trophy for the hundreds of people outside the airport. Photo: Lowen Sei

As FIFA presents a miniature replica of the trophy at every stop on the tour, FIFA Marketing Partnership Manager Lucas Rachow gave a replica to Sir Frank.

Mr Lucas Rachow said it was important to bring the World Cup trophy to Solomon Islands as the country has many soccer fans.

Solomon Islands was the fifth stop on the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour that will visit 91 cities in 51 countries around the world.

“In total of these 51 countries, we are going to 24 countries where the FIFA World Cup hasn’t been, so the Solomon Islands is one of those countries.” Mr Rachow said.

He said they are trying to build excitement ahead of this year’s World Cup.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will kick off on June 14 in Moscow, where hosts Russia will take on Saudi Arabia.

By Lowen Sei

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