I WAS a 10-day-old baby when Brazilian skipper Carlos Alberto held aloft the FIFA World Cup Trophy on June 21, 1970.
Star attractions like Pele, Jairzinho and Rivelino were part of that top Brazilian side, often dubbed as the greatest ever world cup team.
They were simply sensational, sweeping aside everything in their path. They were stylish, commanding and effective.
They were a cut above the rest. Peru went down 2-4 in the quarter-final, Uruguay ripped apart 1-3 in the semi-final and Italy blown away 1-4 in the grand final.
This was Brazlian football at its best and in their hands lay the most prestigious prize in world football, the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Forty-three years on, Rivelino, the late 60s and early 70s version of Ronaldinho and Portugese Ronaldo, relives the moment when he held the 18-carat solid gold trophy.
"It's fantastic! If you count all the footballers in the world, and then how many who have actually laid their hands on that trophy, you'll realise how few there are," he said.
"I was lucky enough to be one of them. That's something money can't buy. And now Coca-Cola is giving you the chance to see the trophy up close. It's someone else's turn now, but it all reminds me of 1970, of that marvellous conquest. The trophy gives me goose bumps. Not many people get that feeling."
Rivelino was one of five former Brazilian world cup winners, Zagallo (1958), Amarildo (1962), Rivelino (1970), Bebeto (1994) and Marcos (2002), present at the launch of the Coca-Cola World Trophy Tour at the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro.
Many of us remember Bebeto and Brazil's 1994 cup victory. He is well known for his goal celebration in the quarter-final victory over Holland. Bebeto ran to the sideline, brought his arms together and began rocking an imaginery baby. A couple of his teammates joined in. His wife had just delivered their third child a few days before the showdown. He got the chance to relive the moment last Thursday. "I just had to swathe it as if it were a baby. That was pure emotion. I remembered the birth of my son during the World Cup, and the goal I scored against the Netherlands. That's why I was cuddling the trophy like that. I'd been missing it. I lifted that trophy in 1994 and I couldn't begin to describe the emotion involved. We dream of that trophy all the time. That was always my dream as a child: to win the World Cup and to make history with the SeleÃ§Ã£o. Seeing the trophy again was like being reunited with a long-lost child. I just cradled it in my arms and lulled it to sleep. It was an indescribable feeling."
Marcos, 1992 Brazilian cup winner said: "When you get the chance to lift a trophy like that, the World Cup, your whole life flashes before you. Coming face to face with it again was really emotional. We won that trophy, held it aloft, celebrated and everything, but I never thought I'd get near it again. Lifting it high and reminiscing about 2002, not just for me, but for all the great champions who have held it aloft. It's passed through the hands of the cream of football. That trophy is awash with history". So true. Remember the first FIFA World Cup — the Jules Rimet Trophy.
Used from the first World Cup in 1939, it is reported that "the trophy was hidden from occupying troops during the Second World War by the Italian vice-president of FIFA, Dr Ottorino Barassi, who kept it safe in a shoe box under his bed".
"In 1966, the cup went missing from a display in the run-up to the World Cup tournament in England but was eventually found, buried in a garden , by a little dog called Pickles. It was stolen again in Rio de Janeiro in 1983 and apparently melted down by the thieves. The Brazilian Football Association, who had earned the right to keep the trophy after three World Cup victories in 1970, had a replica made."
A replacement trophy, the original FIFA World Cup now on tour, was commissioned by FIFA for the 1974 World Cup. It is said that fifty-three submissions were received from sculptors in seven countries with Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga finally awarded the commission. The trophy stands 36.5 centimetres (14.4 inches) tall and is made of 5 kg (11 lb) of 18 carat (75 per cent) gold with a base (13 centimetres or 5.1 inches in diameter) containing two layers of malachite.
This is the third FIFA World Cup Trophy tour, but first for Fiji. The world football's greatest prize is on a 267-day journey, covering 89 countries, and giving the opportunity to millions of fans to enjoy a rare close-up view of the authentic solid-gold trophy, the very same one that is presented to the winners of every FIFA World Cup. It arrives at the Nadi International Airport just after 4pm this afternoon and the tour entourage will be welcomed by the President of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
Tomorrow night, there's a cocktail party and Fiji Football Association's 75th anniversary announcement at the Fiji Beach Resort & Spa managed by the Hilton at the Maravu Restaurant on the Beach. Then on Saturday you can get up close and personal with the trophy at the soccer festival at Churchill Park, Lautoka, from 9am to 6pm.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you are a football fan, don't miss it. For me personally, born in the year that the traditional champions of world football Brazil ruled, covering the trophy tour at home over the next three days is like a dream come true, the finest moment in my 17 years as a football writer. I always dream of covering "the beautiful game" on the big stage, like the world cup but we have to be realistic. For us, trying to get into a world cup is first priority, leave aside winning the trophy! So this is my world cup coverage, thanks to Coca-Cola! This is the closest we will get to the FIFA World Cup. That's the harsh reality!