Cape Town - The Soccer World Cup trophy will return to South Africa for the first time in almost four years as part of a global tour.
This tour will see the biggest prize in world football take on 88 countries in 267 days.
South Africans caught their last glimpse of the magnificent 18-carat gold sculpture when it was being held aloft by victorious Spain at the conclusion of the 2010 World Cup at Soccer City in Johannesburg.
But now it will return from December 1-3, 2013 on its way to its final destination, Brazil for the next global showpiece tournament that gets underway in June next year.
Dignitaries from across South Africa will welcome the trophy in a true Brazilian style ceremony on December 1, 2013 at the Lanseria Airport, Johannesburg.
Samba dancers and the 2014 World Cup Mascot, Fuleco, are expected to add to the excitement.
South Africans will have a chance to see and be seen with one of sport’s greatest emblem at the Southgate Shopping Centre in Johannesburg from December 2-3 from 11:00 to 19:00 each day.
Fans will also have an opportunity to have souvenir photos of themselves taken with the word’s trophy, view a special hologram animation showcasing memorable moments of the Fifa World Cup, participate in interactive displays and enjoy other entertainment.
The tour will no doubt bring back special memories for fans of the magnificent finals held in South Africa in 2010, the first time ever the World Cup has been staged on the African continent.
The 2010 World Cup provided South Africa with the ultimate football party and the country’s citizens came together in the spirit of nation-building.
The sight of the trophy will forever evoke those memories and put a smile on the face of all South Africans, who will be delighted to see the prize back in their country.
The trophy itself is the second to be handed to winners of the World Cup. The original prize was named the Jules Rimet Trophy after the French football administrator who is credited with developing the concept of the World Cup tournament.
That was given to the Brazilian Football Confederation to keep after the country won its third World Cup title in 1970.
A new trophy was commissioned and after a total of 53 designs were submitted to FIFA by experts from seven countries, the final choice was the work of Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga.
"The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture raise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory,” Gazzaniga said of his work.
The new trophy is 36 cm high, made of solid 18-carat gold and weighs 6175 grams. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite while the bottom side of the Trophy bears the engraved year and name of each World Cup winner since 1974.
The World Cup Trophy Tour was developed through an exclusive partnership between FIFA and Coca-Cola, one of FIFA’s longest-standing partners.
The total distance covered during The Tour will be 149 576.78km. In other words, more than three times the circumference of earth!
The Trophy Tour began its journey in Rio de Janeiro on September 12, 2013. Departing from the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, the World Cup trophy will travel around the world for nine months before returning to the country that will host the 2014 World Cup: Brazil.