LAHORE: A solid 18-carat gold FIFA World Cup trophy landed in Lahore on Saturday and was unveiled at a local hotel.
French World Cup winner Christian Karembeu, who accompanied the trophy on a chartered plane from Thailand, said he was happy to be sharing the historic stopover of the trophy in Pakistan.
“Assalam-o-Alaikum!” exclaimed Karembeu, who played for France and Real Madrid in a glittering football career, when he greeted the audience.
“I am extremely happy to be here in Lahore. Pakistan also has football-loving folks. We can make our future better through football.”
Karembeu said it was a big day for football in Pakistan.
“It’s a big day for football in Pakistan. I am here to prove that football unites the world,” he said.
Karembeu also expressed hope that France will win the World Cup, after a gap of 20 years.
National football team captain Kaleemullah Khan and women’s team skipper Hajra were also present at the unveiling ceremony.
Provincial ministers Jahangir Khanzada and Nadeem Kamran, FIFA officials, and prominent businessmen were also present on the occasion.
An ecstatic Kaleemullah said: “I never even imagined that the FIFA World Cup trophy would come to Pakistan. It is encouraging for footballers to have the FIFA trophy come to Pakistan. I feel that one day Pakistan will also do well in the sport.”
The trophy remained in Lahore for a day, and was put on display at a park of a private housing society. It was later taken back to Bangkok.
Karembeu is travelling to various destinations with the trophy and former Pakistan Test captain Younis Khan along with singers Quratulain Baloch and Momina Mustehsan brought it to Lahore.