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Our world champs arrive home

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The crowd at the Kimberley Airport broke into song as the players and handlers posed for the media, while some onlookers took selfies with the squad

ASSISTANCE: The Northern Cape Department of Education handed over a cheque for R40 000 to the Boitumelo Special School soccer team. Seen here is the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, handing over the cheque. Picture: Danie van der Lith

KIMBERLEY residents came out in numbers to give a lively welcome to the Boitumelo Special School’s football team, who returned as world champions from the Special Olympics which ended last week in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The cars of many of the fans lined the entrance to the overcrowded Kimberley Airport parking bay as the occupants joined relatives in swamping the players and the management staff as they emerged from the arrivals lounge on Friday evening.

The Northern Cape MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, was on hand to welcome back the players.

Several officials from the provincial Department of Sport, Arts and Culture also disembarked from the flight as they had accompanied the team to the Special Olympics in Dubai.

The crowd at the Kimberley Airport broke into song as the players and handlers posed for the media, while some onlookers took selfies with the squad.

The atmosphere was lively as many of the welcoming party held up makeshift boards with welcome home messages and the like inscribed on them.

“When we left the Province we promised government, through the MEC for Education, that we are going to come back with the gold. That promise is what pushed us. This helped us to push through all the obstacles that we met at the tournament we held out to fulfil our promise to the people,” the team’s mentor, Lebogang Diutlwileng, said.

Diutlwileng was also full of praise for team coach Nimrod Mokgoro. “He was the brains behind the team. The man assisted us a lot. But in fairness, the team had sixteen players and all gave their best”.

Diutwileng explained that the tournament objective was to motivate pupils with special needs and to help members of the public understand children with special needs.

Diutwileng added that the team might make an appearance at the next Special Olympics, which is the Winter Games, in two years time.

Neville Motlhabakwe