Locations in Tanzania and Kenya formed the itinerary of the African leg of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, presented by Heineken, during a memorable eight days.
The 2012 UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, presented by Heineken, has continued to attract the fans during a successful visit to Africa as part of its intercontinental spring tour.
Following four days in Tanzania between 24 and 27 March, where the trophy visited famous locations such as Mount Kilimanjaro and the State House in Dar es Salaam, the travelling roadshow moved on to Kenya from 28–31 March, taking in Nairobi and Mombasa.
After proceedings had opened with a special viewing of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg action, some 230 people attended a rooftop VIP event in the Kenyan capital Nairobi – where the silverware was unveiled by UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour ambassador Celestine Babayaro.
Meanwhile, a press conference at the Zen Garden attracted a significant media presence – including live television – with the trophy again going on show in the presence of ex-Nigerian international Babayaro and Heineken ambassador Ruud Gullit, the former Netherlands captain.
Finally, 2,500 fans attended the public event at the Carnivore Grounds in Nairobi. Here the trophy was presented by both ambassadors, and Kenyan fans enjoyed seeing prestigious UEFA Champions League memorabilia as well as having their picture taken with the cup and the ambassadors – with many lucky ones getting their photos signed.
The supporters' reaction to the UEFA Champions League and its illustrious prize was memorable. Equally, with local football enthusiasts eager to gather as much information as possible, the press coverage in Tanzania and Kenya was also phenomenal.
"Being the ambassador to Kenya means a lot to me," said Babayaro, who played in Europe for RSC Anderlecht, Chelsea FC and Newcastle United FC. "I feel privileged and very honoured. We love football in Africa.
"When we play in Africa,and then move to Europe, you see the skills that you have in you develop," he continued. "So basically the sky is your limit, with the African style blending with the European style, [with] all the facilities you need to become a top player."
Gullit – who won the trophy with AC Milan in 1989 and 1990, when it was known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup – emphasised the UEFA Champions League's allure. "I think it's the biggest club event in the world," he said. "[The tour] gives people in Africa the possibility to be closer to the trophy and also to inspire the youth."
Having completed its Latin American – Mexico City and Guadalajara in Mexico – and now African legs, the 2012 tour heads to Shanghai, China, for its Asian stopover between 6 and 8 April.