FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour Plane

The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola has steadily been making its way across the world on its longest, most ambitious journey to date. Over the past seven months, we have been astonished by the passion and inspiration the FIFA World Cup Trophy has generated in all the countries it has visited. Regardless of the national teams standing on the official rankings, the visit of the trophy in all countries has been met with a certain degree of amazement and humility wherever it goes.

There have been so many highlights of the journey so far it is hard to separate them.

And then magic happened…

Soccer Trick at FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour

For the first time in its brief history, Bosnia and Herzegovina qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup taking place in Brazil this summer. As part of the former Yugoslavia, there was always a deep-seated history and love of football. The recent war however divided the people and football took a bit of a back seat as the conflicts ensued.

During our visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, we got to learn more about an inspiring gentleman called Predrag Pasic. Predrag was an ex-football player that took part in the 1982 FIFA World Cup with Yugoslavia and is a football legend in the country. When speaking to Mr. Pasic he said that one of his earliest memories of football was seeing Pele lift the trophy, a vision and memory that kept him motivated and inspired throughout his career. He felt that having the FIFA World Cup Trophy in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a moment he will never forget.

Mr. Pasic is, however, so much more than just a former player. During the time of the war, instead of using his contacts to leave the country, he decided to stay and make a difference in the lives of the kids to try and help them forget about the war that was dividing them.

Instead of using his contacts to leave the country, Predrag decided to stay and give kids a peaceful place where they could forget about war. Despite the dangers of war, Predrag was brave enough to open Bubamara in Sarajevo, a school of football for teenagers, which has formed many generations of players. The school produced up to 40 professional football players, one of which is going to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 2014 World Cup.

Teens in Bosnia

It was, therefore, fitting that as part of the FIFA World Cup Trophy visit to the country, that we took the trophy to Bubamara School and give some of the current teens at the school an opportunity to see the trophy. We felt that this was an amazing story and decided to film the occasion under the banner of ‘where will happiness strike next’ and we believe that we captured a magical story while visiting the country.

Teens Get Closeup of FIFA Trophy

For all of us who were present, it was a very touching and emotional moment when Predrag surprised some of the young students currently studying at his school with the visit of the trophy. Predrag explained to the students that he was like them when he started playing and that this trophy was his dream. It made him wake up every day with the illusion and the energy to keep on doing better every day. He concluded with some words of wisdom that for the students and future football stars to be able to one day hold the FIFA World Cup trophy, it would be necessary to play all together as a team.

Brad Ross is on the far left

Brad Ross is on the far left.

We look forward to sharing this amazing story in the coming weeks when we release the short film documenting this inspiring story.

Brad Ross is global football manager and FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour project lead for The Coca-Cola Company.