World Cup trophy hit the spot

Another milestone in Cayman Islands sports history was created by the visit of football’s most coveted prize, the World Cup Trophy. 

It touched down on Monday at the Owen Roberts International Airport for a few hours as part of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Cup Trophy Tour, marking the first time it has ever has been displayed here, sparking excitement throughout the Cayman Islands. 

FIFA and CONCACAF executives joined local legislators, sponsors and invited members at an unveiling ceremony at the Island Air hanger to celebrate and take photos with the iconic prize. 

It came from Jamaica and went on to Bahamas as part of its 89-country tour leading up to the Brazil World Cup finals next year.  

This tour is part of FIFA’s charm offensive, trying to inspire and motivate worldwide, which is why it posts an abundance of photos from every stop on its website. Cayman is taking pride of place at the moment.  

Before it went to the Truman Bodden Sports Centre where hundreds were able to see and be photographed with it, FIFA marketing executive Jan Schetters said: “We noticed that wherever we go with the FIFA World Cup Trophy it generates a lot of excitement and inspiration to young footballers to maybe one day compete for it.  

“We expect to see today in the Cayman Islands a lot of passionate, inspired football fans.” 

That was certainly the case. School kids, youth teams, parents and fans waited patiently in the blazing sun for a couple of hours for a unique chance to be snapped with it.  

For many it was worth the wait, including track chief Dalton Watler who joined Webb beside it. 

Her Excellency Helen Kilpatrick initially unveiled the trophy at the Island Air hanger presentation.  

Credit for it passing here goes to Jeffrey Webb, the Cayman Islands Football Association president who worked his way up the FIFA ranks over two decades to become CONCACAF president last year and a FIFA vice-president in the process. 

Webb said: “This trophy symbolizes so much to the world. It generates so much passion and emotions.  

“In over 100 years history of FIFA so many millions of players have worked so hard to try to lift it, but only one team wins out of 209 in the FIFA community. There is so much sacrifice and commitment. 

“We tried to get it here four years ago but were unable to so I’m happy that we have accomplished that this time.”  

Local organization was chiefly done by Fresh Image PR executive Samantha Whittaker and Rosalind Robinson of Kirk Distributors who had a busy day juggling the masses wanting to be part of the memorable occasion.  

Deputy premier Moses Kirkconnell said: “The Cayman Islands government understands what CONCACAF is offering this country and I thank you for giving us this opportunity.” 

Minister of sports Osbourne Bodden said: “This trophy symbolizes the pinnacle in a sport that brings people together across national boundaries.  

“Countries like the Cayman Islands are part of that great international community of footballing nations. 

“Yet throughout the course of a lifetime many of our people get no closer to this trophy than seeing it on TV every four years. 

“To see the real thing touch down here should inspire our athletes. Looking at this trophy shining in front of us should encourage them to dream even bigger still.”  

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Dalton Watler got his special moment with Jeffrey Webb.

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Governor Helen Kilpatrick got to touch the trophy.

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The boys national U-17 team were thrilled.
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