South African World Cup captain in Norwich
Chris WiseNorfolk youngsters played out their own version of the forthcoming World Cup yesterday - and the man who will be captaining the host country in the real thing was there to see it.Chris Wise
Norfolk youngsters played out their own version of the forthcoming World Cup yesterday - and the man who will be captaining the host country in the real thing was there to see it.
South African skipper Aaron Mokoena, who will be leading his side out in the opening fixture of the eagerly awaited competition in around seven weeks' time, was the star guest at a football tournament with a difference at Hellesdon High School.
The Portsmouth defender, who also has an FA Cup final against Chelsea next month to look forward to, took time off from his busy schedule to watch 250 pupils from around 20 Norfolk schools play under the flag of another country for the day.
Each team represented one of the 32 nations to have qualified for the first Fifa World Cup to be staged in Africa, with Notre Dame High School emerging victorious in both boys' and girls' competitions.
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The event, which was also attended by the South African high commissioner Dr Zola Skweyiya, was the brainchild of fellow countrywoman Amalia Hendricks, chief executive officer of Rainbow Nations, a local organisation dedicated to building links between schools in Norfolk and South Africa.
Mrs Hendricks felt the event would be an ideal way of 'bringing the world into the classroom' ahead of one the world's biggest sporting contests - and was delighted to see so many youngsters enjoying themselves in an event that had a real flavour of home, with pupils dancing to South African music to launch the competition.
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Mr Mokoena was impressed with the spectacle, saying: 'It's incredible. It's always good to see kids smiling. At one point I felt like I was back in South Africa with the music and because our children also love their football.'