By Robin Toskin
McDonald Mariga may not have been so lucky as to bring home the UEFA Champions League like the Ivorian star midfielder Yaya Toure did in 2009 when Barcelona won the coveted trophy.
However, the big-eared 7.5Kg trophy designed by Fred Baninger in Berne, Switzerland will soon land in Kenya, the home of Mariga, who won the European title with Inter Milan when they beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in 2010.
FeverPitch understands Heineken could contact the Kenyan star to deliver a short inspirational message through video link to upcoming Kenyan footballers.
The trophy is on a global tour courtesy of UEFA partners Heineken and will be up for public viewing in Kenya on March 29 to 31.
- 1 What betting fans need to know about Mariga and Joey Muthengi
- 2 Toure BBC African top footballer
- 3 Stars captain Oliech quits national team over image rights
- 4 Operation idle ministers
The trophy has already been to Mexico City and Guadalajara in Mexico. Mariga, now at Parma (Italy) is not in the running for the trophy, though, which is now being contested by Champions League holders Barcelona (Spain), Benfica (Portugal) Bayern Munich (Germany), Real Madrid (Spain), Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus), Chelsea (England), Marseille (France) and AC Milan (Italy).
Commenting on the trophy’s tour, David Taylor, UEFA Events S.A. CEO said: "We are delighted that together with Heineken we can reward the passion and dedication of football fans around the world by taking the trophy to them."
The trophy will arrive in Kenya via Tanzania where it will be taken to the Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa.
The first trophy to be won in 1956 was a silver cup offered by leading French sports newspaper, L’Equipe, which nine-time European champions Real Madrid kept it for life in 1967. UEFA regulations allowed the Trophy to become the property of any club, which won the competition a total of five times, or three times in a row. It means that that after fifty years, only Real Madrid CF, AFC Ajax, FC Bayern Munched, AC Milan and Liverpool FC have earned the right to keep an original in their Trophy rooms.
From the 2008-09 season onwards, however, a club that wins the trophy are allowed a full-size replica with their club name engraved after the word "Vainqueurs" on the back.