Street Child World Cup: The young heroes return to Pakistan
KARACHI: The Jinnah International Airport in Karachi was abuzz with sounds of drums as fervent fans welcomed the young footballers home on their return from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after putting up a good show at the Street Child World Cup (SCWC) 2014.
For their reception, not only their families were present but also ministers, representatives and workers of political parties as well as sports and football organisations.
People also danced at the airport to the thuds of the drums to welcome the young heroes home.
The nine-member squad for Pakistan had a glorious run in the seven-a-side tournament before a heart-breaking defeat at the hands of Burundi in the semifinal.
For security reasons, the airport administration used the domestic gate instead of the international one for the children to leave the airport to avoid any untoward situation.
View a slideshow on the Street Child World Cup here.
Sindh Minister for Culture Sharmila Farooqi, Provincial Minister for Social Welfare Rubina Saadat Qaimkhani and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MPA Khawaja Izharul Hassan were also present to welcome the young guns and highly appreciated the efforts of these children.
Qaimkhani told the Express News that these children have proven that they are not lesser than anyone else irrespective of whatever problems and hindrances they might be facing.
MQM MPA Hassan, while speaking to the Express News, requested the government to reward these kids in order to boost their confidence.
The teenagers, who endured a hard time to just get to Rio, let alone play in the tournament, have managed to capture the hearts and imagination of the nation. Though they lost out in the semi-final against Burundi, they managed to win against the US in the play-off for the third place and earned a bronze medal.
The team began its campaign with a bang, defeating arch-rivals and defending champions India 13-0, Kenya 2-0 and Mauritius 3-0 to top Group Three. Later they won the quarter-final against Philippines 3-2 on penalty-kicks.