Trophy fever hits New Zealand

Among the VIP guests were OFC President Reynald Temarii, Hekari United players, around 100 kids from the OFC ‘Just Play’ grassroots programme, and Mark Liggins, a Special Olympics North Harbour centre forward who has been selected to participate in an all-star football match to be played in South Africa on July 3.
All Whites were also involved, with Ben Sigmund, Ivan Vicelich, Leo Bertos and David Mulligan all taking time out to sign autographs for the hoards of kids.
President Reynald Temarii said it was a privilege to host the trophy in this part of the world.
“I would like to, on behalf of the FIFA President, say thank you to Coca Cola for this trophy tour,” said President Temarii.
“The FIFA World Cup™ represents a chance for countries to unite in support for their national team and that’s exactly what New Zealand is doing here today.”
He went on to congratulate the All Whites as well as the local referees who have been selected for FIFA’s showcase event.
“I would like to acknowledge today the great work by New Zealand Football to make sure that not only the national team will be taking part in the World Cup but also the two referee trios led by Mike Hester and Peter O-Leary.”
“The future of football here in New Zealand is great. You have qualified for South Africa 2010 but your youth national teams are also performing well at the U-17 and U-20 events in both men’s and women’s.”
Ivan Vicelich, All Whites defender and Auckland City captain, said the event had a real impact on the players.
“It was really exciting to see the FIFA World Cup™ and to get to spend time with all the passionate football fans that turned out today. As far as motivational tools go getting to see the Cup up close is right up there.”
Around 500 New Zealand competition winners and OFC ‘Just Play’ participants were able to see the trophy up close and personal and have their photos taken.
Mark Liggins, who has been selected by Special Olympics New Zealand to take part in a charity match in South Africa, was also on hand to share his thoughts.
“It’s amazing to see it in person,” said Liggins. “Now I’m just excited about actually going to the World Cup.”
Bruce Weston, Consumer and Commercial Manager at Coca-Cola Oceania, says Coca-Cola were proud to bring the Trophy to New Zealand for the first time.
“We were blown away by the response from New Zealand football fans and were delighted we could provide the opportunity for them to see the Trophy in person.”
“A lot of behind the scenes work was put in to ensuring the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola made it to New Zealand and seeing the reaction from the fans today made it all worthwhile.”

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