LAHORE: It may be a while before Pakistan can participate in the FIFA World Cup, considering the shambles the country’s football is in, but football fans in the country can at least satisfy themselves with the fact that the World Cup trophy will be in Pakistan on February 3.
The 2018 trophy tour includes 50 countries from six continents, with Pakistan being among those countries for the very first time.
The suspension of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) had raised fears that the trophy may not come to Pakistan, but Coca FIFA’s World Cup partner Coca Cola have helped ensure that Pakistan stay on the tour.
General Manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Rizwan U Khan, spoke at a press conference that also featured the national men’s and women’s captains Kaleemullah and Hajra Khan.
“As a Pakistani, I am very excited,” Rizwan told The Express Tribune. “This will increase awareness in our youth and revive a culture of football. I foresee Pakistan playing in the World Cup in the future as well.”
Rizwan revealed that bringing the country to the country was not easy. “There was a lot of competition,” he said. “Many countries were vying for it. We can’t comment on the PFF-FIFA issue but this is a big deal for Pakistan.”
The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca Cola kicked off in September 2017 in Russia and will see the trophy travelling approximately 126,000km in nine months before eventually returning to Russia.
A delegation of 16 Pakistanis, including representatives from the media, Coca Cola and the national football team, will join the tour in Chiang Mai, Thailand to receive the Trophy and bring it to Lahore. The trophy will remain in Pakistan for one day and will be to the media and thousands of football fans at the Coke Fest in Lahore, according to a press release.
Meanwhile, a Pakistani fan will also get the opportunity to participate in the coin toss in the match between Brazil and Costa Rica in the group stages.