Mixed emotions as trophy fiesta ends

The enthusiasm and excitement surrounding the coveted FIFA World Cup trophy wound down yesterday afternoon with the spectators returning home with mixed emotions after the second and final day of the trophy’s display.
Thousands gathered at the Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel — after the venue was shifted at the last moment from the originally scheduled Bangabandhu National Stadium — for a glimpse and to take photographs with the gilded trophy but not all were able to take pictures with the trophy.
The famous trophy is supposed to leave the country in the morning today for Bhutan as part of the trophy’s global tour to 89 countries ahead of the 2014 World Cup to be held in Brazil.
Things were running smoothly till 12:00pm after which ticket-holders, all invited guests, were forced to stand still for nearly an hour before normal service resumed. It was learnt that the hold-up resulted from meeting the demands of the stakeholders’ — Coca Cola, Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) officials — relatives and those of defence personnel. The long wait eventually resulted in a gate rush by those waiting in the queues.
Once allowed in, they however were only allowed a quick look at the trophy without taking the photographs that were earlier arranged by Coca-Cola.
“Looking at the FIFA World Cup trophy from close quarters was the only bit of satisfaction, although my big dream was to take a photograph with it. They did not even give me a chance to capture it with my mobile camera,” said Samoy from Mohammadpur. Shamima Akter, public relations officer of Coca Cola Bangladesh, said that they stopped providing the photograph service due to the server being down but a representative of FIFA, seeking anonymity, informed that they stopped providing the photographs because they thought providing an opportunity to the maximum number of spectators in the allotted time to at least view the trophy was better than nothing as time was running out.
However, the mentally challenged athletes who recently took part in the Asia Pacific Region Games of Special Olympics, the underprivileged children of Jaago Bangladesh and the children from Shishu Academy faced no such trouble. Instead, they were taken inside the room specially and each child was given the opportunity to have a photograph taken with the trophy as well as a Coca Cola gift box.
Earlier in the day, the BFF did finally arrange for the national players to visit the trophy but an untoward incident transpired when national striker Toklish Ahmed and security personnel were involved in a scuffle. Later however, security apologised for the incident and let Toklish along with his two relatives view the trophy.
“Watching the original trophy from up close is a rare opportunity and I believe it will inspire us to do well in future, “ said striker Zahid Hasan Emily. “If our football is going in the right direction, one day a future generation will play the FIFA World Cup.”
Time can only tell whether Bangladesh will play the World Cup, but it will be interesting to see how the game’s governing body capitalises on the passion and enthusiasm generated by the venerated trophy’s maiden visit to our shores.