KUALA LUMPUR - Local football fans will once again get the chance to admire the FIFA World Cup trophy here as it travels the world on its way to this year's World Cup championship in Brazil.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the arrival of the trophy,which will be displayed at the Putra World Trade Centre today, is a great honour for Malaysia.
"It is a great honour for Malaysia to be among the five countries in South-East Asia that have been selected for this privilege," he said while launching the Malaysian leg of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.
Up to 10,000 fans are expected to view the trophy at PWTC's Dewan Tun Hussein Onn Hall 1 from 10am to noon.
Muhyiddin thanked Trophy Tour organiser and soft drink company Coca-Cola for choosing Malaysia to be part of the tour, adding that locals here are passionate about football.
He was joined by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Football Association of Malaysia senior vice-president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, Brazil ambassador Maria Auxiliadora Figueiredo as well as representatives from Coca-Cola.
FIFA ambassador and former Manchester United player Dwight Yorke was also present at yesterday's launch.
In admitting that Malaysia has a long way to go before becoming international football champions, Muhyiddin hoped that the trophy would inspire locals to push themselves in football.
"Who knows that among us looking at the World Cup trophy this weekend will be a young boy inspired to someday lead the national team to the FIFA World Cup for the first time ever!" he said.
At 36.8cm high, the trophy weighs 6.18kg and is made of 18-carat solid gold. It has a base made of semi-precious malachite, with the bottom bearing the engraved years and names of every World Cup winner since 1974.
The last time Malaysians got to see the trophy up close was in 2010, just before the FIFA World Cup tournament in South Africa.
At the time, the trophy was displayed through 89 cities across 86 countries worldwide.
This time, the Trophy Tour will cover 88 countries in 267 days, starting first in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.