FIFA WC trophy goes on display in Chile

SANTIAGO: Overjoyed soccer fans got a chance to get up close and personal with the FIFA World Cup trophy as it arrived at the Mapocho Station Cultural Centre in Santiago.

Chilean fans anxiously waited to see the official presentation of the trophy as it arrived to their home country as part of an 83 nation tour.

"I think just seeing it will get me excited. It must be very impressive just to see and hopefully it can stay here," said soccer fan Maria Caceres.

The trophy was on display again on Friday and organizers expect some 10,000 visitors to stop by over the two day exhibit.

Visitors were treated to various soccer games, a 3D video about soccer and South African themed music and dancers.

"For the first time in Chile we have the opportunity to have this trophy amongst us. This is a soccer icon. This was made possible by the great performance of our national team," said the Chilean Secretary General, Pilar Armanet

"This is a unique opportunity for soccer fans to see this marvellous trophy up close and feel the excitement," added FIFA representative Leslie Dickens.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola which began in Zurich, Switzerland on September 21 of last year will cover a total distance of 134,017 kilometres (83,275 miles) before reaching 2010 World Cup host country, South Africa on May 4. The distance is three times the circumference of the entire globe and will be travelled over 225 days.

The World Cup was held in Chile in 1962 and members from that year''s national team took part in the festivities, taking pictures with the world famous trophy.

After the ceremony fans also got the chance to smile for the camera with one of the sports world''s most iconic symbols.

"An unforgettable experience. The trip was worth it, we travelled two-hours. Spectacular, novel. Just to see the World Cup here in Chile which has not happened many times," said soccer fan Daniel Vega.