Festive atmosphere as local fans line up to view World Cup trophy

2010-05-19 00:00

MORE than 7 500 Pietermaritzburg residents took advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at the Royal Showgrounds yesterday to get a close look at the Fifa World Cup Trophy.

The trophy arrived in Pietermaritzburg by helicopter on Monday night, landing at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital at around 9.30 pm. It was taken to a secure location where it was kept in a vault and guarded until morning.

Yesterday morning saw uMgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee unveil the trophy to the media and the Pashasha competition winners. The winners were given the chance to have their photographs taken while standing next to the solid gold icon.

Bhamjee said he was delighted that the trophy had come to Pietermaritzburg. “Today we observe the culmination of the district’s steady efforts as we play host to the World Cup Trophy itself,” he said.

“Indeed, this is a proud and profound moment for the citizens of this beautiful region. We trust that Bafana Bafana will play their hearts out and help us retain this remarkable piece of art.”

The trophy is 36,5 centimetres tall and is made of five kilograms of 18 carat solid gold with a base containing two layers of malachite.

There was much excitement throughout the day as song and dance performances and human foosball competitions entertained the crowds who had gathered to see the trophy.

The public were allowed to enter the showgrounds from 10 am and the viewing of the trophy ended at 6 pm.

Some schools let pupils off classes to view the trophy.

James Searle, a grade seven pupil at St Charles, was taken by surprise when his school told him he was going to see the World Cup trophy.

“It really is great to be here with the trophy. I have never seen any World Cup trophy from any sport before. When I watch the final and I see the winning team lifting the trophy, I can say that I have seen it before,” he said.

Members of the public were shown a 3-D film about the history of the Fifa World Cup.

The Coca-Cola Trophy Tour next makes its way to Bethlehem.

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