Football boots Taranaki residents donated to a small Tibetan soccer team helped them to win their first tournament.
The team was trained by former New Plymouth Rangers coach Shane Kidby, who sold his house and quit his job to pick up a volunteer coaching position in Dharamsala, India.
He was preparing the Tibetan women's football team for a week-long football festival in Manipur, a state in northeastern India.
Together with wife Johanna and children Meghan, 9, and Jessica, 12, they settled in Dharamsala for 12 weeks.
Hard work and dedication paid off and the team walked away with a trophy and high spirits to boot.
Dharamasala is where the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet is based.
Shane's father, Marty, said the girls were "really chuffed" to have won their first tournament.
Last year, Marty couriered dozens of football boots that were donated so the team would have proper shoes to wear. "When they [Shane and family] arrived in Manipur, they were greeted by politicians and were given gifts and presents," Marty said.
Shane had to buy two extra bags just so he could bring all the gifts back to Dharamsala, Marty said.
The trip was also a cultural one as both the Tibetan and Indian teams mingled with each other.
As for the football boots donated by Taranaki's residents, they were just "over the moon" with it, Marty said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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