LOCAL football fans will today get to experience something that even eludes fans of world cup winners.
World Cup winning teams never get the chance to take the original FIFA World Cup Trophy to their homeland. They take home a replica trophy. Unless they are hosts then they get to bask in glory with the original trophy in front of their fans for a while.
But today at Churchill Park local football lovers will get to see and take pictures with the "real deal" — the original FIFA World Cup Trophy.
"This is the trophy that FIFA president Sepp Blatter will be handing out to the winning team next year," Coca-Cola global football manager Brad Ross said yesterday.
"There is a difference between the World Cup trophy and the winner's trophy. Once the ceremony (world cup final presentation) is conducted, the team that wins are then given the replica trophy and they take that back to their federation and this trophy actually goes back to FIFA and gets put back into the vault and that's where it stays."
Still uncertain? Then like Ross explains there is something the original trophy has that the replica doesn't.
"If you have a look tomorrow when you come to the stadium, on the podium there will be a mirror underneath the trophy and you will actually be able to see the winners names engraved underneath the trophy and that's one way to know that this is the original trophy," Ross said.
Coca-Cola are the sponsors of the trophy tour to 89 countries before reaching Brazil in time for the World Cup 2014.
Ross and the tour entourage were overwhelmed by the reception they got on arrival at Nadi on Thursday afternoon.
"Honestly, I was speaking to some of my colleagues last night and it was one of my both personal and career highlights of my life to be able to have being part of that ceremony and to witness it," US-based South African Ross said.
"It was just mind-blowing to be welcomed in an amazing way, his excellency (President of Fiji) to greet us, the tribes (Sabeto villagers) to come out and do the traditional ceremony.
"It was educational and inspiring and it meant a lot to us."
Ross says the idea behind the campaign for them was "to extend the reach" and make this "the world's cup".
"We wanted to make it the most inclusive and participatory FIFA World Cup ever."
Fiji is one of 52 countries the FIFA World Cup Trophy visits for the first time on this tour.
Today's program at Churchill Park, Lautoka, is from 9am to 6pm. There is no entry fee and fans will be able to take pictures with the trophy, which will be in a glass case and also watch the East versus West exhibition match from 2pm.
Last night there was a cocktail at the Fiji Beach Resort and Spa run by Hilton at Denarau but today is the day our football fans get to see and take snaps with the most prized trophy in "the beautiful game", made of 18 carat solid gold and weighing six kilograms. Once in a lifetime opportunity made possible by Coca-Cola and FIFA.