Special Moments as DHL Champ19ns Trophy Tour Arrives in Africa
Manchester United’s Champ19ns Trophy Tour – delivered by DHL – has landed on the African continent and the first few stops have been as memorable for the legends as it has been for the fans.
The 2011 Premier League Trophy landed in Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 4 to begin the African leg of the 2012 DHL Champ19ns Trophy Tour. Excited fans have been turning out in droves to see the trophy and Manchester United legends Quinton Fortune and Gary Bailey, who are chaperoning the coveted silverware on this leg of the tour.
The Reds have an estimated 33 million fans in Africa, a figure Quinton and Gary probably wouldn’t dispute after their experiences at the tour’s first three stops in South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, where crowds at each stop have touched the hearts of the legends.
After kicking off the African leg at the FBN Stadium in Soccer City – home of the opening game of the 2010 World Cup – legendary defender Quinton Fortune, a native of South Africa, took the Premier League trophy on a trip to the historically significant Apartheid Museum in Soweto. A number of fans joined Quinton, where they had the opportunity to meet their famous countryman and take pictures with him and the trophy. The South African player also toured the museum, an experience he described as both informative and moving.
Three days later, the legends took the Premier League trophy to Tanzania, where after visiting the country’s National Stadium to meet the head of the Tanzanian Football Association and a host of lucky fans, legendary Manchester United goalkeeper Gary Bailey joined Quinton Fortune and the trophy on a tour of Dar es Salaam that ended with an unexpected twist.
Inching through heavy traffic on account of a torrential downpour, the legends spotted a tuk tuk with “Old Trafford” – the name of Manchester United’s famed stadium –albeit spelled with only one ‘f’, written on the back along with the name of current Reds’ winger Ashley Young. They could hardly believe their eyes and proceeded to chase the auto rickshaw down and pull it over.
While in the process of setting up a photo shoot, two cars of diehard fans that were following the trophy jumped out to watch and get in on the photo session. Within minutes, Manchester United fans seemed to be pouring out onto the streets as quickly as the downpour that had ended just moments before. The owner of the nearby shop came out with a Manchester United calendar, a man turned up proudly on his Manchester United bike, a street vendor jumped into the shots with a huge Reds poster. Other fans in United shirts and scarves made the photo shoot a truly memorable experience.
If Quinton and Gary didn’t think the tour could get any better after their experience on the African streets of Tanzania, they were in for another special moment on April 9 in Uganda. There the tour made its way to Lido Beach on the shore of Africa’s largest lake – Lake Victoria.
Here again, loyal and excited fans joined the legends on the beach, where they had the opportunity to kick the ball around with Quinton while Gary showed everyone that even at 53 he is still pretty sharp in front of the goal.
From there the legends stopped off to watch a local community football match, where Quinton was asked to join the match for the first 15 minutes of the second half. He happily accepted and showed the Ugandan footballers that he hasn’t lost his touch, even setting up a goal to level the match at 2-2.
Next up on the DHL Champ19ns Trophy Tour itinerary are Kenya, Ghana and Senegal. Go to http://www.dhlchampionstrophytour.com/ for the latest.