Rwamagana - Robert Ndatimana received a hero's welcome on his return from the FIFA under 17 World Cup tournament in Mexico, in his home town of Rwamagana yesterday.
Hundreds of friends, family and football lovers accorded the 16-year-old midfielder a grand welcome in the town.
Dinner was arranged for all who came to the footballer’s family home to join the celebration.
The smiling Ndatimana accepted the peoples' greeting before making an emotional address to the gathering.
“This is just the beginning of a long journey. Rwanda will see the light of good football soon,” he told the cheering crowd.
“I am so motivated and the sky will be the limit, God is with me,” he added.
Ndatimana, who immediately visited his former local team-mates at a Police playground, said he aimed at playing professional football.
“I was inspired by veteran soccer stars like Claude Makelele and Paul Scholes. I am humbled by the warm welcome my people gave me...it motivates me more as an aspiring professional footballer,” he said.
Halid Kamanzi, the former manager of Ndatimana in Rwamagana, told The New Times that the boy is the pride of many residents.
“This is a young man who first displayed his talent six years ago, in the team I coached. He did well as a defensive midfielder in Mexico... his success is a great inspiration to other young players,” he said.
Chantal Kaligirwa, his mother was all smiles, saying she was overwhelmed by her son’s performance.
She said that her son started playing football at a tender age with his peers in neigbouring villages.
“His passion for football cannot be over emphasised...he is a God fearing boy, who cares for me as a mother in all aspects. I pray that God helps him to achieve his ambitions,” he said.Ndatimana is a student at FERWAFA’s football Academy.