The Managing Director of Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC), George Polymenakos, on Wednesday in Abuja said Nigeria deserves the best of the FIFA World Cup in view of its passionate football following.
Polymenakos, while briefing the media after the arrival and unveiling of the FIFA World Cup trophy in Nigeria, said the passion for football in Nigeria needed to be complemented by success.
“I honestly hope that in a few years Nigeria will be hosting the World Cup here.
“It was when I came to Nigeria that I understood what passion for football meant. Nigeria deserves to have this trophy here. Nigeria also deserves success at the World Cup in Russia,’’ he said.
Also at the brief event, the Managing Director of Coca-Cola Nigeria, Bhupendra Suri, said the company was glad to bring the prestigious trophy to Nigeria.
“We are glad to bring this prestigious trophy to you in Nigeria for the third time. The last time we were here was in 2010.
“Other countries get to see the Cup in one city, but Nigeria is special, and so we are presenting the trophy in two cities — Abuja and Lagos.”
Also speaking at the event, the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, thanked Coca-Cola for identifying with the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles.
“Coca-Cola is not just a brand in Nigeria, it is a lifestyle. If you go to the most remote villages in Nigeria, you’ll find Cola-Cola.
“Based on that, we had no choice but to partner them in Nigerian football. We have a partnership with them for the next five years.
“It means in four years’ time when Nigeria goes for another World Cup, Coca Cola will be there. We hope to take this relationship to a higher level.”
In his comments, a World Cup winner with France, Christian Karembeu, congratulated Nigeria on the immense football talents in the country.
“Coming here is a dream come true for me. I have played with many ex-Super Eagles players and I know that Nigerian footballers are very talented,” Karembeu, who played for several clubs, including Real Madrid and Greek club Olympiakos, said.
The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, expressed the hope that the trophy’s presence would stimulate more support for the national team.
“I believe the presence of this trophy in Nigeria will stimulate success and ensure support for our national team. As you drink Coca-Cola, know that you’re supporting the Super Eagles,” Dalung, who was represented at the occasion by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the FIFA World Cup trophy will travel to 91 cities across 51 countries on six continents.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy tour began in a journey which started on Sept. 4 in Moscow, Russia.
The last time the World Cup trophy was brought to Nigeria was in 2010, just before the first World Cup finals hosted on the African continent in South Africa.
Coca Cola, an official FIFA World Cup sponsor, has a commitment to take the trophy to 211 countries between 2006 and 2040.
The FIFA World Cup trophy will be on display at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja on Thursday, before leaving for Lagos where it would also be displayed on Saturday.